American Literature LM

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course is offered in a double annuality as a specialized exploration of selections of US literary production, which will be conducted either from a thematic point of view or from a recent and current critical perspective. The course will present the fundamental theory and methodology of one or more critical approaches. Literary works will be read in class with the aim of training students in the skill of applying literary theory to critical text analysis.
Expected learning outcomes
Required knowledge: at the end of the course, students should demonstrate that they have understood the critical perspectives illustrated in class, and that they have become able to apply them to their analysis of literary texts. Moreover, they should prove their in-depth knowledge of all the literary works included in the course reading list. Required linguistic skills: at the end of the course, students should demonstrate the ability to read the original versions of the literary works included in the reading list, and to translate them into Italian (or to paraphrase them in English, in the case of international students). Moreover, they should demonstrate, in English, their capacity to interpret the literary texts correctly, and to discuss their interpretations, as well as their application of the acquired theory and methodology to literary analysis. Required literary skills: at the end of the course, students should be able to conduct a critical interpretation of the literary works included in the reading list according to the acquired theory and methods, and to perform a literary analysis of the same from both a thematic and a formal point of view. Finally, they should show the ability to make connections between the various authors and works they have been studying.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The course is titled Ecocritical readings in US non-fiction, fiction, poetry and movies and consists of the following parts:
A: What is ecocriticism? Ecocritical non-fiction and fiction
B: Ecopoetry
C: Eco-movies
Students from both Lingue and from other-than-Lingue degree courses who want to acquire 6 credits should complete parts A and B; those who want to acquire 9 credits should complete the whole course syllabus.
The course is an introduction to the US critical perspective of ecocriticism. It develops according to the genres and art forms in which it has been applied. Part A moves from the first canonical non-fiction writings to fiction; part B explores ecopoetry; part C focuses on a sample of eco-cinema.
The course syllabus is valid until February 2023.
Prerequisites for admission
The course is open to students from all degree courses. It is completely delivered in English. Lectures, materials and bibliography require a sound knowledge of the English language.
International students and Erasmus students are welcome as long as they own the required linguistic skills.
Teaching methods
The course is mainly delivered as lectures, in which students will be involved through the reading and interpretation of literary texts, and the discussion of theoretical and critical essays. Students are required to come to class having prepared the readings assigned for the week's syllabus. Audio-visual materials may be used in class.
Teaching Resources
Part A:

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854 (chapters "Economy", "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for", "Higher Laws", "Spring", "Conclusion")
— Henry David Thoreau, from "Ktaadn", The Maine Woods, 1864 (on ARIEL)
— John Steinbeck, "The Chrysanthemums", "The White Quail" (from The Long Valley, 1938)
— Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism, 2011 (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7)
— Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden, 1964 (section 2 of chapter V: pp. 242-265)
— Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, 2001 (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
— Paola Loreto, "Women's Ways to Nature: Steinbeck's (Mock)Pastoral Diptych of Gardening (& Childless) Wives in The Long Valley," Discourses of Emancipation and the Boundaries of Freedom: Selected papers from the 22nd ASNA Biennial Conference, ed. Leonardo Buonomo and Elisabetta Vezzosi, Trieste, EUT, 2015: 161-168 (on ARIEL)

Part B:

Poems by:
· Robert Frost, "Design"
· Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man"
· Robinson Jeffers, "The Answer", "Carmel Point"
· Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things"
· Gary Snyder, "Song of the Taste"
· Denise Levertov, "Aware"
· A.R. Ammons, "Motion"
· W. S. Merwin, "Native Trees", "The Last One"
· Mary Oliver, "Sleeping in the Forest", "White Flowers", "Some Questions You Might Ask"
· Jane Hirshfield, "Optimism", "Ripeness"
(on ARIEL, on the LM page of the course)
— J. Scott Bryson, "Introduction", from Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction, Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2002)
— Anne Fisher-Wirth & Laura-Gray Street, "Editors' Preface" (pp. xxvii-xxx1) and "The Roots of It" (pp. xxxvii-xl), from The Ecopoetry Anthology, San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University Press, 2013
— The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vols. D and E: introductions to all the listed poets

Part C:

— Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild (1996)
— Into the Wild, movie, dir. Sean Penn, 2007
— Paola Loreto, "The Transformation of Wilderness from the Aesthetic of the Sublime to the Aesthetic of Life: Into the Wild as a Palimpsest of the American Myth of Nature." Translating America: The Circulation of Narratives, Commodities, and Ideas between Italy, Europe, and the United States. (Transatlantic Aesthetics and Culture, vol. 5) Eds. Marina Camboni, Andrea Carosso, Sonia Di Loreto & Marco Mariano. Bern, Peter Lang, 2011, pp. 171-184 (on ARIEL).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral: the exam is an interview, during which students will demonstrate their capacity to read and translate the literary texts listed in the course syllabus (non-Italian students will be asked to paraphrase the same in English); their knowledge of the historical, cultural, and literary context of both the texts and writers proposed; their knowledge of the literary works proposed; their critical abilities (i.e., their capacity to analyze the literary works, and to connect different authors, texts and literary trends).
LM students from Lingue are required to take their exam in English. Students from other-than-Lingue degree courses may choose to take their exam either in Italian or in English.
The final score is expressed in thirtieths, 18/30 being the pass score. Students may accept or reject the result (in which case the record will be "ritirato," and they will have to take the whole exam again in a future session).
International or Erasmus incoming students are kindly requested to contact the teacher. Also students with any disabilities should contact the teacher in order to agree on alternative examination methods, in agreement with the competent office.
It is mandatory to bring along an academic edition of all the literary texts listed in the syllabus.
Unità didattica A
Lessons: 20 hours
Unità didattica B
Lessons: 20 hours
Unità didattica C
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)
In the Fall semester (teaching period) on Thursdays at 11:00; in the Spring Semester (teaching period) on Thursdays at 15:00. Otherwise, check on the Bacheca on ARIEL. During the sanitary emergency please contact Prof. Loreto by email.
Dept. of Lingue, Anglistica section, third Floor (Sottotetto), piazza Sant'Alessandro 1