English Literature (i) (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Silvia Bigliazzi
Silvia Bigliazzi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A dal Sep 24, 2018 al Nov 10, 2018.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The module aims at introducing the students to English Literature with a focus upon canonical texts and within the context of coeval continental literature. At the same time, it wishes to provide appropriate instruments for a critical approach to texts and genres. The module will develop abilities of textual reading and analysis of literary works belonging to different periods within their historical and cultural contexts. It will also introduce students to critical approaches aimed at strengthening their analytical and argumentative skills. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to re-elaborate critically the acquired knowledge, to comprehend texts in English, translate them into Italian, and discuss topics employing appropriate linguistic and stylistic registers.


“Dream, separatness and love in Elizabethan poetry and drama: Shakespeare’s sonnets and Romeo and Juliet”
The module examines significant examples of Elizabethan poetry with a focus upon its Italian derivation and its later penetration into Shakespearean drama. The first part of the module will deal with the tradition of the English sonnet, from Wyatt’s and Surrey’s translations of Petrarch to Sir Philip Sidney’s and Edmund Spenser’s compositions, to John Donne’s poetry and Shakespeare’s sonnets. Special attention will be paid to examples of the lover’s dream of his beloved, to feelings of separatness, and to the contrast between Platonic and Ovidian inflections of eros. The second part of the module will discuss how this tradition is adapted for the stage in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, becoming part and parcel of a full-fledged tragedy culturally connoted by its Italian roots.

The module will be held in Italian. Primary texts will be read in English and translated into Italian. Attending students will have the opportunity to take one self-assessment test at the end of the module. A written calendar of the topics that will be dealt with will be circulated in class at the beginning of the course.
Further teaching material will be available for download from the MOODLE repository. Except for the essay indicated in the syllabus below (Silvia Bigliazzi, “Figure oniriche della lontananza nei sonetti shakespeariani”), the material in MOODLE is not mandatory.

Attending and non-attending students are required to do all the readings indicated below:
• William Shakespeare, Sonetti, a cura di Alessandro Serpieri, Milano, Rizzoli, 1996: “Introduzione” and sonnets 1, 18, 19, 20, 27, 39, 40, 43, 55, 60, 61, 104, 124, 130, 144;
• John Donne, Poesie, ed. by Alessandro Serpieri and Silvia Bigliazzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 2009: “Introduzione”; from Songs and Sonnets: “The Good Morrow”, "The Sunne Rising”, “The Dream”; from Elegies: Elegy X (“The Dream”);
• William Shakespeare, Romeo e Giulietta (parallel text), ed. by S. Bigliazzi, Torino, Einaudi, 2012;
• Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004 (chapters 1-8);
• Silvia Bigliazzi, “Figure oniriche della lontananza nei sonetti shakespeariani”, Memoria di Shakespeare, 7, 2009, pp. 49-66 (available in the MOODLE repository).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Silvia Bigliazzi “Figure oniriche della lontananza nei sonetti shakespeariani” (Edizione 7) Memoria di Shakespeare 2009 pp. 49-66
John Donne Poesie, a cura di Alessandro Serpieri e Silvia Bigliazzi Rizzoli 2009 “Introduzione”; dai Songs and Sonnets: “The Good Morrow”, The Sunne Rising”, “The Dream”; dalle Elegies: Elegy X (“The Dream”).
William Shakespeare Romeo e Giulietta (testo inglese a fronte), a cura di S. Bigliazzi Torino, Einaudi 2012
Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells Shakespeare’s Sonnets Oxford University Press 2004 0-19-925610-1 Chapters 1-8.
William Shakespearea Sonetti, a cura di Alessandro Serpieri Rizzoli 1996 “Introduzione” e sonetti 1, 18, 19, 20, 27, 39, 40, 43, 55, 60, 61, 104, 123, 124, 130, 144.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist in an oral discussion of the topics dealt with during the module. The oral exam will be held in Italian; primary texts will be read in English.
Alternatively, students may submit an essay in Italian of approximately 5,000 words, including quotations of the primary texts in English and appropriate commentary. The essay should be on one or more topics of their own choice among those indicated in the syllabus. Before writing the essay, students are required to discuss their project with the teacher. The essay must be submitted at least two weeks before the exam and will be discussed orally on the day of the exam.
The acquired abilities will be evaluated in terms of:
1) knowledge of the primary texts within their historical and cultural contexts and in relation to the literary tradition of the sonnet;
2) ability to use critical approaches appropriate to textual and contextual analysis, with special attention to stylistic features;
3) textual comprehension and translation into Italian of the primary texts;
4) argumentative skills in an academic discussion in Italian.