English Literature (i) (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Lisanna Calvi
Lisanna Calvi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem 2B dal Apr 6, 2020 al May 30, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The module aims at offering an overview of English Literature, drama included, by placing it in the broader context of European literature and paying special attention to some major texts. At the same time, it wishes to present the students with the basics of textual and genre analysis; it also fosters the improvement of comprehension and analytical abilities with regard to narrative, poetic, and/or dramatic texts in English which will be achieved by foregrounding the investigation of genres and styles not only by critically looking at the literary, rhetorical, historical, and cultural tradition but also at social-communicative aspects. Specific methodological approaches, aimed at the development of appropriate critical and argumentative skills, will also be adopted. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to produce a coherent and detailed interpretation of the texts, translate them into Italian, and provide a plausible critical interpretation in a register and style that serve the context and intention.


"Shylock after the Shoah. Late twentieth-century readings and re-writings of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice"
The module will explore late-twentieth century adaptations and appropriations, through different genres and medias, of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Moving from an evaluation of his character in the original text and looking at his role in adaptations and re-writings, the module will especially focus on Shylock and on how, after the Shoah, his presence on the stage, on film, and in the literary panorama has sparkled a critical debate encompassing notions of myth, legend, and stereotype.

Please be advised
Language: lectures will be held in Italian; primary texts will be read in English.
Further materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) will be used in class and will later be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository.
Students are required to do all the readings indicated in the three sections below:
a. Primary Texts
b. References
c. References for non-attending students

1. Primary texts
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, ed. by Charles Edelman (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
- Arnold Wesker, Shylock, in Id., Shylock and Other Plays (Penguin, 1990), vol. 4, pp. 171-261.
- Michael Radford (dir.), The Merchant of Venice (DVD, 2004).
- Howard Jacobson, Shylock is My Name (Vintage, 2016).

2. References
- Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation (Routledge, 2013 – second edition).
- Michele Stanco, “Il contratto ebraico-cristiano: l’usura, la penale, il processo in The Merchant of Venice”, in The Merchant of Venice. Dal testo alla scena, a c. di Mariangela Tempera (CLUEB 1994), pp. 87-116.
- Efraim Sicher, “The Jewing of Shylock: Wesker’s The Merchant”, Modern Language Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Spring 1991), pp. 57-69 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- Anna Cavallone Anzi, Riscritture nel teatro inglese contemporaneo: A. Wesker, D. Pownall, C. Hampton (Unicopli, 1989), pp. 11-35.
- Drew Daniel, “William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice”, Film Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 1 (Fall 2006), pp. 52-56 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).

3. References for non-attending students
- Dario Calimani, “Introduzione”, in William Shakespeare, Il mercante di Venezia (Marsilio 2016), pp. 11-50.
- Alessandro Serpieri, “Contratti d’amore e di morte in The Merchant of Venice”, in The Merchant of Venice. Dal testo alla scena, a c. di Mariangela Tempera (CLUEB 1994), pp. 9-21.
- Michael Shapiro, “Shylock the Jew Onstage: Past and Present”, Shofar, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter 1986), pp. 1-11 (scaricabile da Jstor – v. istruzioni per l’accesso su MOODLE).

Further details on required readings and general information on the bibliography will be provided during classes.

Other teaching materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) that will be used in class will be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository. These contents do not substitute but complement the mandatory readings listed in the BIBLIOGRAPHY section above.

Assessment methods and criteria

Typology: oral exam. There will be no mid-term tests.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and in accordance with the University of Verona guidelines, during ​the 2020 summer exam session the assessment modality will be modified as follows: online oral exam.
The exam will consist in an oral discussion (in Italian) that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts and authors). Students will be required to analyze and critically evaluate the primary texts also by contextualizing them in their historical, dramatic, and cultural background. Assessment will consider:
1) the knowledge and comprehension of primary texts (see a. above),
2) the development of good analytical and synthetic skill levels with regard to the main historical, cultural, textual, and critical topics of the module,
3) the use of an appropriate vocabulary.