31170 - Anglo-American Literature 2

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Elena Lamberti

  • Credits 9

  • SSD L-LIN/11

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Course Timetable from Feb 11, 2019 to May 17, 2019

Academic Year 2018/2019

Course contents

Storytelling of/in/about the American Century

This course explores forms of literary storytelling, as well as of trans-media storytelling (adaptations) to explore the making of geo-cultural maps of/in the 20th Century, also questioning if and how they stay in the 21st Century.

Moving from the idea that literature is not simply a subject, but mostly “a function inseparable from communal existence” (M. McLuhan, 1946), this course employs American and Canadian literary productions to investigate cultural, political, artistic, social and technological issues that have been shaping a shared collective “Western imaginary” for more than a century. The same sources are also employed to work out the critical aspects of the same imaginary, to show how storytelling can become a privileged counter-environment to acquire a full understanding of how complex and dynamic cultural systems are created. The intention is here to explore the potential that literature (in all its forms and in its various adaptations) has to not only touch people’s feeling while contributing to their knowledge of a given cultural reality, but also to encourage the readers’ critical attitude and their active participation; that is, to educate us to be conscious citizens.

This course is organized as part of the sustainability phase of the European Project “PERFORMIGRATIONS: People Are the Territory” (www.performigratios.eu ), in collaboration with the Projecr AlmaIdea Senior 2017 on “STORYTELLING AND CIVIC ENGAGEMET IN THE POST-DIGITAL AGE” (www.wetell.eu [file:///C:/Users/elena.lamberti2/Desktop/Corso%202017_18/Corso%202018_19/www.wetell.eu] ), and in collaboration with www.canadausa.net ; these projects focus on the development of new modes of ‘performative storytelling’ to create ‘social innovation’. The main goal is to encourage a new global mentality so to reorient today geopolitics and create a happier and more just world. No knowledge is useful if it leads to satisfy a few people’s urgent need, be that material or emotional; knowledge is useful if it helps us to question our communal existence, helping us to learn how to act upon our community in responsible ways leading to a truly shared happiness.

This course features a series of guest scholars and professionals to encourage the dialogue between literature and civic society so to widen our knowledge of learning and training opportunities available nationally or internationally.



IMPORTANT: all students must know the literary history of the related time. Mandatory Readings (different for UNIBO students and ERASMUS/INTERNATIONAL students):


II year students

USA: Guido Fink, Mario Maffi, Franco Minganti, Bianca Tarozzi, Storia della letteratura americana (nuova edizione), Firenze: Sansoni, 1991 (1915-1945)

Canada: Capone Giovanna, Canada. Il villaggio della terra, Bologna, Patron (chapters 1,2,3).

III anno students

USA: Guido Fink, Mario Maffi, Franco Minganti, Bianca Tarozzi, Storia della letteratura americana (nuova edizione), Firenze: Sansoni, 1991 (1945 – Present days)

Canada: Capone Giovanna, Canada. Il villaggio della terra, Bologna, Patron (capitoli 1,2,3).


From The Columbia Literary History of the United States, New York: Columbia U.P., 1988 (Emory Elliott, General Editor):

Part IV, 1910-1945:

  • Chapter I: “The Emergence of Modernism”; “Literary Scenes and Literary Movements”.
  • Chapter II: “Afro-American Literature”; “Women Writers between the Wars”.
  • Chapter III: “Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein”; “William Faulkner”
  • Chapter IV: Ezra Pound; T.S. Eliot

Part V – 1945 to the present:

  • Chapter II: “Twentieth-Century Drama”


    To complete the preparation for the final exam (essay), students are asked to choose a mandatory number of volumes from the here below lists B, C, D:

    IMPORTANT: Additional essays and volumes will be discussed in class. Students who do not attend class are strongly invited to meet the course director before taking the final exam.

    B) At least 4 texts (novels, poetry collections, short stories collections) by any of the following writers:

    Acker Kathy; Baldwin James; Barth John; Anderson Sherwood; Auster Paul; Barthelme Donald; Bellow Saul; Brautigan Richard; Bernard Malamud; Momaday Scott; Berryman John; Bishop Elizabeth; Brooks Gwendolyn; Burroughs William; Capote Truman; Coover Robert; Cummings e.e.; DeLillo Don; Dos Passos John; Eliot, T.S.; Ellison Ralph; Gass William; Hemigway Ernest; Fante, John; Faulkner William; Fitzgerald Francis Scott; Frost Robert; H.D.; Hammett Dashiell; Harper Michael; Heller Joseph; Kerouac Jack; Kesey Ken; Mailer Norman; Hughes Langston; Hurston Zora Neale; Lardner Ring; Lewis Wyndham; Lowell Robert; MacLeish Archibald; Masters Edgar Lee; Miller Arthur; Miller Henry; Moore Marianne; Morrison Toni; Parker Dorothy; Nabokov Vladimir; O’Connor Flannery; Palahniuk Chuck; Percy Walker; Plath Sylvia; Pynchon Thomas; Pound Ezra; Reed Ishmael; Roth Philip; Salinger Jerome D.; Schneck Stephen; Roth Henry; Runyon Damon; Sinclair Lewis; Sontag Susan; Vonnegut Kurt; Ginsberg Allen; Stein Gertrude; Steinbeck John; Stevens Wallace; Tan Amy; Tennessee Williams; Walker Alice; Williams W.C.; Wolfe Tom; Leonard Cohen; Margaret Atwood; Modercay Richler; Alice Munro; Janice Kulyk Keefer, Morely Callaghan; Barry Callaghan; Wyndham Lewis; Douglas Coupland

    C) At least 1 volume chosen from this list:

  • Calabrese Stefano, Codeluppi Vanni (a cura di) Nel paese delle meraviglie, Roma, Carrocci, 2009
  • Chiarenza C., Vance W.L., Immaginari a confronto. I rapporti culturali tra Italia e Stati Uniti: la percezione della realtà fra stereotipo e mito, Venezia, Marsilio, 1992
  • Cinotto, Simone, Una famiglia che mangia insieme. Cibo ed eticità nella comunità italoamericana di New York, 1920-1940, Torino, Otto Editore, 2001.
  • Dawidoff, N., In The Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music (1998). Leavy, Patricia, Iconic Events: Media, Power, and Politics in Retelling History (Lexington Books, 2007)
  • Di Luzio, Alessandra, (a cura di) The Grand Tour Lives On, Bologna, Clueb, 2006
  • Divine Robert A., American Immigration Policy, 1924-1952,Yale University Press,1957
  • Dowd Doug, Blues for America. Una critica, lamento e tante memorie, Bologna, Clueb, 2011
  • Evans, Harold, The American Century, Alfred A. Knopf, 1998
  • Franci G., Mangaroni, R. , Zago E., In viaggio attraverso il Deco americano, fotografie di F. Zignani, Firenze, Alinea, 1997
  • Franci G., Zignani F., Stranieri in Paradiso / Lost in Paradise, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2007
  • Franci Giovanna, Dreaming of Italy: Las Vegas and the Virtual Grand Tour, Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2005
  • La Polla Franco, Un posto nella mente. Il nuovo romanzo americano: 1962-1982, Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1983
  • Maffi Marco, La giungla e il grattacielo. Gli scrittori e il sogno americano, (1981)
  • Marcus, Greil, Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads, 2005, [trad.it: Like a Rolling Stone. Bob Dylan, una canzone per l’America, Donzelli, 2005]
  • Mariani G., Waging War on War. Peacefighting in American Literature, University of Illinois Press, 2016.
  • McLuhan, Marshall, The Mechanical Bride (1954. Gingko Press, 2002)
  • Portelli, Alessandro, Canoni americani. Oralità, letteratura, cinema, musica, (Donzelli, 2004)
  • Proietti Salvatore, Hippies! Dall’India alla California la road map del ’68, Roma, Cooper 6 Castelvecchi, 2003
  • Rydell, Robert W., Kroes R., Buffalo Bill in Bologna: The Americanization of the World, 1869-1922, [trad.it.: Buffalo Bill Show. Il west selvaggio, l’Europa e l’americanizzazione del mondo, Donzelli, 2006]
  • Sioli Marco (a cura di), Metropoli e natura sulle frontiere americane, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 2003.
  • Frye Northrope, Mythologizing Canada. Essay on the Canadian Literary Imagination, edited by Branko Gorjup, Toronto, Legas, 1997
  • Frye Northrope, The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination, Toronto, Anansi, 1971
  • Powe Bruce, The Solitary Outlaw. Trudeau, Lewis, Gould, Canetti & McLuhan, Toronto, Somerville House Books, 1996
  • Sioli Marco (a cura di), Metropoli e natura sulle frontiere americane, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 2003.
  • G. Franci, R. Mangaroni, E. Zago, In viaggio attraverso il Deco americano. Architettura, design e cinema negli anni ’20 e ’30, Fotografie di F. Zignani, (1997).
  • Zygmunt Bauman, Vite di scarto (2004)
  • Augé M., Nonluoghi. Introduzione a un'antropologia della surmodernità, (1992)
  • Appadurai, Arjun, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, (1996)
  • Maffi Marco, La giungla e il grattacielo. Gli scrittori e il sogno americano, (1981)
  • Ash Amin e Thrift Nigel, Città. Ripensare la dimensione urbana (2005)
  • Lynch Kevin, L'immagine della città (1964)

C) At least 1 critical essay consistent with the topic chosen for the final essay (to be confirmed with the course director)

Teaching methods

The course follows an interdisciplinary methodology juxtaposing literary, artistic and historical sources, as well as films and multimedia references.

Assessment methods

IMPORTANT: students who do not attend class are strongly invited to meet the course director before taking the final exam. Office hours are updated on the UNIBO portal.

For this exams, students must: A) acquire a good knowledge of North American literature and culture (Canada and USA), (second year students: from 1915 to 1945; third year students: from 1945 to present day); B) present an individual investigation of a theme or an author (essay) developed from the subjects discussed in class.

The final exam will consists of two written parts:

A) Test to check the student’s knowledge of North American literature (United States and Canada).

The test consists of 30 ‘closed’ questions (20: true/false; 10 multiple choice); students are given 1 (one) hour. Evaluation: 1/30 to each right answer.

This part of the exam is based on the mandatory readings (List 1, Reading/Bibliography); it aims to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the history of both USA and Canadian literature (Second year students: 1915-1945. Third year students: 1945-present days).

B) Essay (3000-3500 words).

The essay must be in English and must be presented the same day of the test.

Through the essay, students must prove their ability as literary critics in relation to the chosen topic. To help towards the definition of a topic for this essay, a list of themes will be discussed in class. Students must prove: good knowledge of their primary and secondary sources; their capability to analyse literary texts in relation to the chosen subject; their mature and original critical approach. The evaluation of the essay is based on a clear and sound working hypothesis; consistency between the essay structure and the chosen subject; correct use of the chosen bibliography; essay presentation (layout; footnotes; bibliography, etc.).

The final mark results from the marks of the two written parts. In the academic year 2015-2016, students will have the following options to take the exam: three dates between May and July 2016; one date in September 2016; two dates between January and February 2017. Check AlmaEsame for final dates.

Links to further information

https://www.canadausa.net https://www.performigrations.eu

Office hours

See the website of Elena Lamberti