Contemporary English literature

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course offers a series of readings between the late xx and the early xxi century; its aim is to showcase how the anglophone literary world has reflected upon the present offering highly original interpretations and suggestions. The textual analyses imply a thorough knowledge of the historical and literary contexts and the acquisition of critical abilities.
Expected learning outcomes
During the course, students will acquire a general knowledge of the outlines of contemporary English literature (after 1945), with an insight into its complex interaction with other media and other cultures. Students will be able to position a literary text within its literary and cultural contexts. Students will be working on new critical approaches to literature and literary movements.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
This course offers classes in distance teaching. Classes in videoconference will follow the official timetable published in the Unimi website; they will alternate with recorded video/audioconferences (uploaded on Teams), and the exact schedule will be communicated at the beginning of the course.
The access code to Teams will be uploaded before the beginning of the course on the ARIEL platform (course website).
Course syllabus
The course investigates different branches of ecocriticism, ranging from the relationship with the non-human diversity to the issue of human-managed eco-systems. The third unit, though not compulsory, is part of the ecocritical approach of the entire course.
The texts proposed, which include novels, short stories, poems and videos, have been selected in order to lead the students through different ecological and literary responses to modernity.
Units A and B will be taught by prof. Iannaccaro, Unit C by prof. Vescovi.
Prerequisites for admission
The course — entirely in English — and the primary and secondary bibliography require a good knowledge of English, both oral and written, as well as a basic knowledge of the English classics. The course is not recommended to first year students.
Please remember that you have to sign up for the course using the EasyLesson app.
Teaching methods
The course deploys the following teaching methods: lectures with close reading and textual analysis; whenever possible, videos, images and music will also be employed. Students will be asked to take active part in the critical reading of the texts; they should therefore be willing to read some works during the course.
Teaching Resources
Unit A
- Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge (2nd edition). [Anglistica library and also online, Unimi database].
- Jack Zipes, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, part of the Introduction. [On didactic platform].
- "Little Red Riding Hood", in the following versions (in English translation): Charles Perrault (1697), Anonymous (1801), Jacob e Wilhelm Grimm (1812), Delarue (reconstruction, 1885). [On didactic platform].
- Angela Carter, from The Bloody Chamber, 1979, the following tales: "The Courtship of Mr Lyon"; "The Tiger's Bride"; "The Werewolf"; "The Company of Wolves"; "Wolf Alice". The Vintage edition is recommended (introduction by Helen Simpson).
- Webb, Caroline, and Hopcroft, Helen, "'A Different Logic'". Animals, Transformation, and Rationality in Angela Carter's 'The Tiger's Bride'" (2017). [Unimi database].
- Giuliana Iannaccaro, "Metamorfosi moderne. Utopia e fiaba nei racconti di Angela Carter", in Il fascino inquieto dell'utopia (2014) [Anglistica library and Unimi database].

Unit B
- J. M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals, 1999.
- Tim Mehigan, A Companion to the Works of J. M. Coetzee: Introduction, Chapter 11, Chapter 14. [Anglistica library and online, unimi database].
- Giuliana Iannaccaro, "The Lives of Animals", in J. M. Coetzee (2009) [Anglistica library and didactic platform].
- Franz Kafka, A Report to an Academy (1917), in English translation [free online].
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Panther" (1902-3) [online].
- Ted Hughes, "The Jaguar" (1957) [online].
- Zakes Mda, The Whale Caller, 2005.
- Jonathan Steinwand, "What the Whales Would Tell Us. Cetacean Communication in Novels by Witi Ihimaera, Linda Hogan, Zakes Mda, and Amitav Ghosh", in Postcolonial Ecologies. Literatures of the Environment, 2011, pp. 182-99 [Anglistica library].

Unit C
- Seamus Heany, "Death of a Naturalist", Faber and Faber.
- Ted Hughes, "Moortown Diary", Faber and Faber.
- Timothy Clark, "The Value of Ecocriticism".
- Gifford, T. (2013). "Pastoral, Anti-Pastoral, and Post-Pastoral". The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment. (Biblioteca anglistica)
- Bernard O'Donoghue, "Heaney's Classics and the Bucolic" (Literature Online)
- Edward Larrissy, "Hughes and Heaney" (course website)

NON-ATTENDING STUDENTS: the course syllabus does not change, but attendance to classes is highly recommended; the interaction between students and teachers is an important element of the educational project.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists in an oral test assessed in thirtieths. 18/30 is the pass score. The test (an interview) will ascertain: the capacity of students to read and translate the literary texts studied (non-Italian students will be asked to paraphrase the same in English); their knowledge of the historical, cultural, and literary context of both texts and writers proposed; their knowledge of the literary works proposed; their critical abilities (their capacity to analyse the literary works, and to connect different authors, texts and literary trends). Linguistic precision will also be part of the assessment. In order to take the exam it is mandatory to bring along all the literary texts.
It is possible to sit the exam both in Italian and English, but at least one or two questions will have to be answered in English.
The final score is expressed in thirtieths; students may accept or reject the mark - in the latter case it will be recorded as "ritirato" and they will have to repeat the whole exam (all Units) in a future session.
Students with any disabilities are kindly requested to contact the teacher in order to agree on alternative examination methods, according to the current legislation.
The present syllabus is valid until February 2022.
Unita' didattica A
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Vescovi Alessandro
Wednesday, 15:30-18:30, either in person or on Teams. Please send me a mail in advance to make an appointment.
Piazza S. Alessandro 1, Anglistica; or Microsoft Teams Platform
Thursday between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00. Please use the form to reserve a position
Microsoft Teams. For a different arrangement please see the form