31353 - Anglo-American Literature 3

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student is knowledgeable about the general outline of the American literature of the period under consideration and about specific aspetcs of the history of American literature and culture. S/he can read in the original language, as well as translate into it. S/he has acquired basic theoretical tools that introduce her/him to critical assessments of literary and cultural texts and contents.

Course contents

American Theater After World War II: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Beyond.

The course (9 cfu) is aimed at 3rd-year students of "Laurea triennale" who have chosen "Letterature Anglo-Americane" (Anglo-American Literature) as the literature to be associated with one "lingua triennale" (namely, English).

The course is an introduction to the American Theater of the second half of the twentieth century, starting from the plays of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams as contextualized in the changing society and culture of the second post-war period. The subsequent developments - from the "tranquillized Fifties", through the revolutionary Sixties, up to Postmodernism (and beyond) - will be tackled through the theatrical production of Edward Albee, the Living Theater, David Mamet and Sam Shepard.

The course is structured into two parts:

A. Literary History

American Literature from 1945 to date: a few lectures will be devoted to the discussion of the main cultural and literary movements/figures of these decades.

B. Theater

The main focus of the lectures will be theater, which will be approached both from a theoretical and a practical point of view: what is theater, theater as a genre, the evolution of theater and the specificity of American Theater, reading and analysis of dramatic texts and viewing of film adaptations.

Readings/Bibliography

A. Literary History

1. All students are required to know the history of American Literature from 1945 to date. They should integrate the contents of the following textbooks:

Guido Fink, Mario Maffi, Franco Minganti and Bianca Tarozzi, Storia della letteratura americana (new edition), Firenze, Sansoni, 2013 (see chapter V);

Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (eds.), A New Literary History of America, Cambridge, Mass./London, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009 (essays concerning the period after 1945).

 

2. Non-attending students are required to read 1 novel, choosing among the following:

  • Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School (1984), Don Quixote (1986).
  • James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956).
  • John Barth, The End of the Road (1958), Lost in the Funhouse (1968).
  • Donald Barthelme, Come Back, Dr. Caligari (1964), Snow White (1967).
  • Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953), Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1964).
  • Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America (1967).
  • William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959), The Ticket That Exploded (1967).
  • Truman Capote, In Cold Blood (1966).
  • Robert Coover, Pricksongs and Descants (1969).
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952).
  • William Gass, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country (1968).
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984).
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961).
  • Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957), The Subterraneans (1958).
  • Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962).
  • Norman Nailer, The Naked and the Dead (1948), Advertisements for Myself (1959).
  • Bernard Malamud, The Natural (1952), The Assistant (1957).
  • Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968).
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987).
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1958), Pale Fire (1962).
  • Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (1952).
  • Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (1961).
  • Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1966).
  • Thomas Pynchon, V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973).
  • Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1972).
  • Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint (1969).
  • Jerome D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Nine Stories (1953).
  • Stephen Schneck, Nocturnal Vaudeville (1971).
  • Susan Sontag, Death Kit (1968).
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).

 

3. Non-attending students are required to choose 1 among the following poets and read about a hundred lines: John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Michael Harper, Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore and Sylvia Plath.

 

B. Theater

1. All students are required to study the history of American Theater by reading volumes 2 & 3 of C. W. E. Bigsby, A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama, Cambridge, CUP, 1985.

 

2. All students are required to read 4 among the following plays:

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (1944-45); Suddenly, Last Summer (1958);

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (1949); After the Fall (1964);

Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1962);

Jack Gelber, The Connection (1959);

Kenneth Brown, The Brig (1963);

David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross (1983);

Sam Shepard, Fool for Love (1983).

 

 

 

 

Teaching methods

Substantially, a lecture course with class discussion and a few seminar sessions, with students' presentations. 

Attendance is strongly recommended.

Assessment methods

Three different moments will build up the final score:

1. A presentation [ATTENDING STUDENTS ONLY] about one of the topics included in the literary history syllabus, which will take place during the course. This will substitute the part of the oral interview regarding the literary history readings (1 novel and 100 verse by one of the poets) but not the knowledge of the history of literature in general.

2. A paper, which will be written after discussing its topic & outline with the instructor. The paper will need to tackle a topic related to American Theater after 1945. Length: 6/8 pages (1 page means around 2000 characters, spaces included).

3. An oral interview, covering both the syllabus of literary history and American Theater.

Each part will count as 1/3 of the ovarall score.

Here is the spectrum of possible evaluations:

a. Excellent (30 e lode): excellent knowledge of all of the contents of the course. Excellent ability to analyze the texts and to contextualize them in an appropriate way. Excellent critical approach to all the materials included in the syllabus.

b. Very good/Good (30 to 27): very good/good knowledge of all of the contents of the course. Very good/good ability to analyze the texts and to contextualize them in an appropriate way. Very good/good critical approach to all of the materials included in the syllabus.

c. Adequate (26-24): adequate knowledge of the contents of the course. Adequate ability to analyze the texts and to contextualize them. Acceptable critical approach to the materials included in the syllabus.

d. Fair/sufficient (23-18): the knowledge of the contents of the course is not complete. The ability to analyze the texts and/or to contextualize them is not wholly satisfactory. The critical approach is not wholly adequate.

e. Fail (below 18): the knowledge of the contents of the course is not acceptable. The ability to analyze the texts and/or to contextualize them is not acceptable. The critical approach is not acceptable.

Teaching tools

Multimedia materials, such as Power Points and film clips.

Office hours

See the website of Giuliana Gardellini