Contemporary English Literature

A.Y. 2022/2023
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
The course will be held in person. If classes in distance teaching are necessary, 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 before the course begins.
Course syllabus
The course - entitled "Human and non-human animals on the literary scene" - will investigate different branches of ecocriticism, focusing in particular on the relationship with the 'animal' diversity (parts A, B, C). The third part, therefore, though not compulsory, is fully integrated into the ecocritical and ethical 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.
Parts A and B will be taught by prof. Iannaccaro, part C by prof. Vescovi.
The present syllabus is valid until February 2024.
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.
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
Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism, Routledge (2nd edition). Chapter 7 on animals is particularly important. (Anglistica library and Unimi database).

- A selection of short stories from: "Among Animals. The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction", Ashland Creek Press. The specific titles will be indicated at the beginning of the course; a detailed and final syllabus will be uploaded on Teams.
- Sascha Morrell, Book Review: Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction, 2014. (Free online).
- J. M. Coetzee, "The Lives of Animals", 1999, complete edition.
- Tim Mehigan, "A Companion to the Works of J. M. Coetzee": Introduction, Chapter 11, Chapter 14. (Anglistica library and Unimi database).
- Giuliana Iannaccaro, "The Lives of Animals", in J. M. Coetzee, 2009. (Anglistica library and on Teams).
- Franz Kafka, "A Report to an Academy", 1917, in English translation (free online).

- Ian McEwan, "Machines Like Me", 2019.
- A critical study and reviews of the novel. The specific titles will be indicated at the beginning of the course; a detailed and final syllabus will be uploaded on Teams.

The third unit - designed for students who wish to acquire 9 CFU - is devoted to the possibility of moving beyond the otherness of non-human animals. Three very different texts will be discussed, namely a selection of animal poems by Ted Hughes, a novella by R.K. Narayan entitled A Tiger for Malgudi, and a short story by Amitav Ghosh entitled The Living Mountain.
Besides the primary texts, students will also read the following critical essays:
- Tom Furniss and Michael Bath, "The Poetry of the Earth", in Reading Poetry, Routledge.
- Karen L. Edwards, "'What Am I?' Locating the Indeterminate Voices of Ted Hughes's Animal Poems", in Carrie Smith, Reading Literary Animals.
- Angshuman Kar, "Narayan's A Tiger for Malgudi and Ecocriticism", ANQ (Lexington, Ky.), 2008-04-01, Vol.21 (2), pp. 65-71.

In addition to the above-listed materials, students who do not attend classes must also study:
- Hermann Grosser, "Narrativa", Milano, Principato, 1985 (e varie ristampe), [Anglistica Library].
- Manfred Jahn, "Narratology 2.2: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative", 2021 [Free online].
- Matthew Calarco, "Thinking Through Animals. Identity, Difference, Indistinction", 2015 [Anglistica Library and Unimi database].
- Le biografie degli autori, che si trovano sulla banca dati Unimi LION (Literature Online): > Literature Online > Opere di riferimento > nome dell'autore > ProQuest Biography
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of 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 in the reading list; 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 sit 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 2024.
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
Educational website(s)
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