Anglophone Literatures

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course investigates some pivotal aspects of African and Indian literatures, in order to involve students in deep critical analyses of the literary texts proposed, supported by the knowledge of history and of local culture. The aim of the course is to take students beyond the traditional boundaries of the British/Irish canon to discover rich and fascinating Anglophone literary traditions in Africa and Asia; accordingly, the programme introduces some of the most relevant non-English writers and some key issues in the current debate on global English literature. The active participation of students will be promoted through presentations and paper submissions, in order to stimulate and enhance their critical and argumentative skills (both oral and written).
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will have a sound knowledge of the historical, cultural and literary background of the investigated cultural and geographical areas. They will be able to carry out in-depth textual and critical analyses of the literary works listed in the syllabus, relying on the critical studies provided in the reading list. They will also acquire critical tools to carry out an independent critical assessment of the literary texts and of the cultural issues dealt with in class, taking into consideration the theoretical and critical perspectives introduced and discussed during the course.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modalities of the training activities for the academic year 2021-22 will be available over the next months, according to the evolution of the sanitary emergency. In case of classes in distance teaching, they will follow the official timetable published on the Unimi website and will be held on the MICROSOFT TEAMS platform.
The access code to Teams will be communicated on the ARIEL course website.
Course syllabus
The course is entitled "Life Writing, Fictional Autobiography, Autobiographism". It is divided into three parts:

Part A: "Towards the 'Truth' of Fiction: Experimenting with Fictional Autobiography" (Prof. Iannaccaro)
Part B: "Autrebiography": The Proposals of J. M. Coetzee and Zoë Wicomb" (Prof. Iannaccaro)
Part C: "Life Narrative and Autobiographism in Midnight's Children and The Shadow Lines (Prof. A. Vescovi).

Parts A and B deal with South African literature in English and focus on the different ways in which South African writers, between the 20th and the 21st century, deal with the issue of 'literary truth' - that is to say, with the role and function of literature when it means to represent the "nightmares of history". The choice of fictional autobiography, which is formally achieved by different authors thanks to different narrative modes, is one of the possibilities open to writers to represent reality in a way which is both subjective and collective, as well as personal and politically engaged.
Part C will explore instances of life writing in two classic Indian novels, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines. Students will be encouraged to delve into these narratives to discover how these post-modernist works grapple with the problems of a young nation and its ancient tradition. If possible, some classes will be shared with a group of students from the North Bengal University, Bagdogra, and mixed team work will be organized on these texts.

Course attendance is highly recommended. Those who cannot attend classes are invited to the first lesson, in which information regarding the course syllabus and the exam will be provided.
The course bears 6/9 credits. Students wishing to acquire only 6 credits will study Units A and B.
The course syllabus is valid until September 2023.
Prerequisites for admission
The course is addressed to graduate students, and it is held in English. Therefore, a good knowledge of the English language is required in order to be able to understand complex literary and/or critical texts. A general knowledge of the major authors and currents of English literature is taken for granted.
Teaching methods
Teaching methods: lectures with close reading, discussion, textual analysis, and contextualization of the works in the reading list; constant engagement of students in the analytical and critical process of learning; "Students lecturers": the possibility to present to the class a topic/text chosen from the reading list, and/or to be the 'respondent' of someone else's presentation. In the case of online classes, alternative methods such as group work may be resorted to.
Teaching Resources
- Philippe Lejeune, Il patto autobiografico, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1986 (Le pacte autobiographique, 1975): Part I, Part III and Afterword (postfazione). [Libraries: Anglistica, Filologia Moderna, Filosofia, e altre].
- White, Hayden, "The Historical Text as Literary Artifact", in Tropics of Discourse. Essays in Cultural Criticism, The Johns Hopkins UP, 1978 [Scienze Politiche library and uploaded on platform].
- In addition to the following reading list, students will study ALL MATERIALS UPLOADED ON THE DIDACTIC PLATFORM before or during the course.

- Can Themba, "Crepuscule" and "The Will to Die", in The Will to Die (1972). [On platform].
- Miriam Tlali, "Soweto Hijack! A Story of our Times", Staffrider, 1:1 (1978), pp. 12-20.
- Hooper, Myrtle, 2017, "Jean Hart and 'Crepuscule': Remembering Sophiatown", English Academy Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 7-21.
- Androne, Mary Jane, 2013, "Writing Apartheid: Miriam Tlali's Soweto Stories", in Bryce, J. et al. (eds.), Writing Africa in the Short Story: African Literature Today, Woodbridge, James Currey, pp. 25-39 [Unimi database].

- J. M. Coetzee, Summertime (2009).
- J. M. Coetzee, "Truth in Autobiography" [on platform].
- J. M. Coetzee, "Autobiography and Confession" and "Retrospect", in Doubling the Point. Essays and Interviews, ed. by David Attwel, Harvard UP, 1992, pp. 243-293 and 391-395 [Anglistica library and if possible on platform].
- Zoë Wicomb, David's Story (2000).
- Giuliana Iannaccaro, "Sudafricani, coloured, griqua: i cerchi concentrici di David's Story" [Unimi database].
- Fiona Mc Cann, "'The Truth Lies in Black and White'. The Language of Truth and the Search for Coloured Identity in Zoë Wicomb's David's Story", Caliban, Vol. 21 (2007), pp. 213-223,

- Dietrich Rothermund, Storia dell'India, Il Mulino.
- Esterino Adami, Carmen Concilio, and Alessandro Vescovi (eds.), Crossing the Shadow Lines : Essays on the Topicality of Amitav Ghosh's Modern Classic, Quaderni di Ricognizioni,
- Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children, any edition.
- Amitav Ghosh, The Shadow Lines, any edition.


In addition to the above bibliography (and to any new material uploaded on platform), students are required to read up individually on the South African history from the 17th century to the present. Suggested references:
1. The Cambridge History of South Africa / edited by Carolyn Hamilton, Bernard K. Mbenga, Robert Ross, 2 vols, 2010-11. (Scienze della Storia Library).
2. Thompson, Leonard, A History of South Africa. Revised Edition, New Haven and London, Yale U.P., 1995 (3rd edition, 2000). (Scienze Politiche Library).
3. South African History Online (SAHO)

Particularly useful are the critical essays contained in The Cambridge History of South African Literature, ed. by D. Attwell and D. Attridge, Cambridge U.P., 2012. (Anglistica Library). This volume can be used to deepen one's knowledge of authors, works, cultural contexts, and literary trends.

- Metcalf and Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India, Cambridge University Press, online on Cambridge core. Esp. chapters 7 and 8.
- David W Price. Salman Rushdie's "Use and Abuse of History" in "Midnight's Children". Ariel 25.2, 1984. Online.
- Clement Hawes, Leading History by the Nose: The Turn to the Eighteenth Century in Midnight's Children, online on Lion.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam: It consists in an oral interview assessed in thirtieths; 18/30 is the passing score.
The interview will ascertain: the student's sound knowledge of the historical, cultural and literary background of the investigated geographical and cultural areas; their ability to carry out in-depth textual and critical analyses of the literary works in the reading list, relying on the scholarly studies provided; their capacity to engage in an independent critical assessment of the literary texts and of the cultural issues dealt with in the classes, taking into consideration the theoretical and critical perspectives introduced and discussed during the course.
The final score is expressed in thirtieths; students may accept or reject the mark (in that case the record will be "ritirato", and they will have to retake the whole exam in a future session).
The language of the exam is English.

International or Erasmus incoming students are kindly requested to contact the teacher. Likewise, students with any disabilities are kindly invited to contact the teacher in order to agree on alternative examination methods, in agreement with the competent office.

To take the exam, it is mandatory to bring along all the literary texts listed in this syllabus.
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