18095 - English Literature

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has a good passive knowledge of English. He is able to read and understand a text in language and learn the forms and the basic ways of the theater and the English drama of the Romantic period. He also acquires the necessary tools for the analysis of a play in English in its size not only literary but also historical and scenic.

Course contents

The Overreacher Hero in English Literature from Shakespeare to Lord Byron.

The course will explore the formation of the overreacher character in English literature from the late Medieval time to the Romantic Period. Some representative authors and their works will be illustrated, such as some plays by Shakespeare will be read and discussed together with some extracts from Marlowe. As for the XVII century, Milton's Paradise Lost will be introduced and read in class. Moreover, as for the Romantic period, S.T. Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Marinere", Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Lord Byron's Manfred will be read and discussed in class.


Primary texts
(the extracts will be available for students online)

From the Cicle of York, "The Creation and the Fall of Lucifer" (extracts)

W. Shakespeare: Richard III e Othello

C. Marlowe, da Doctor Faustus (extracts)

J. Milton, Paradise Lost (extracts)

S.T. Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (estratti)

M. Shelley, Frankenstein (extracts)

Lord Byron, Manfred

John Polidori, "The Vampyre"

History of English Literature

Reference text for the authors and works included in the syllabus:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. I-II
The Oxford Anthology of English Literature Vol. I-II

L. M. Crisafulli e K. Elam (a cura di), Manuale di letteratura e cultura inglese, Bologna, BUP, 2009

Critical Essays:

A more specific list will be available at the beginning of the course

Vita, arte e passioni di William Shakespeare, capocomico : come Shakespeare divenne Shakespeare di Greenblatt, Stephen (Einaudi, 2005).

Will in the world : how Shakespeare became Shakespeare by Greenblatt, Stephen

Margreta de Grazia, Stanley Wells (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. Cambridge University Press.

Giorgio Melchiori, Shakespeare. Genesi e struttura delle opere Edizioni Laterza (1994).

R.Coronato, Leggere Shakespeare, Carocci 2017 (estratti)

D. Saglia, critical edition of Manfred by Lord Byron (edizioni Marsilio 2019)

“Aesthetics, gender, and empire in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein” in Women Travel Writers and the Language of Aesthetics, 1716-1818, E. A. Bohls, Cambridge UP 1999.

“Making a ‘monster': an introduction to Frankenstein” in Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor, Methuen, 1988.

Teaching methods

Online and frontal lessons; introduction of the literary period from late Medieval time to Romantic period; reading and analysis of the primary sources and critical essays during lectures.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the students' competencies and abilities acquired during the course consists in a written examinantion at the end of the course.

The written test is made of short answers on the general content of the course; a short essay and a critical comment of an extract from a primary text. 

Those students, who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during classes, to use these critically and who master the field-specific language of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence. Those students who demonstrate a mnemonic knowledge of the subject with a more superficial analytical ability and ability to synthesize, a correct command of the language but not always appropriate, will be given a satisfactory mark. A superficial knowledge and understanding of the material, a scarce analytical and expressive ability that is not always appropriate will be rewarded with a ‘pass' mark. Students who demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the subject matter, inappropriate language use, lack of familiarity with the literature in the program bibliography will not be given a pass mark.

Teaching tools

Online resourses available for student online; film and videos show during lectures.

Office hours

See the website of Serena Baiesi