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 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have acquired a sound passive knowledge of the English language; he/she will be able to read and comprehend a text in English and to learn the main forms and genres of English literature and drama. The student will likewise acquire the necessary tools for the analysis of a literary or dramatic text in English, in its historical and theatrical, as well as more strictly literary, aspects.

Course contents

Man and nature in Gothic Literature from Shakespeare to Dracula.

The course will explore how English Gothic literature from the Early Modern to the Victorian Period presents the contamination of the human body and his/her relation with the natural world. 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, Mary Shelley, J. Keats and Lord Byron will be read and discussed in class. Finally, the vampire fictional character will be introduced through the reading of Polidori, Stevenson, and Stoker.



C. Marlowe, da Doctor Faustus (extracts)

W. Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream e The Tempest 

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

J. Keats, "La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad" and  Lamia (extracts)

M. Shelley, Frankenstein (extracts)

Lord Byron, Manfred (extracts)

J. Polidori, "The Vampyre" (short story)

R. L. Stevenson, "Olalla" (short story)

B. Stoker, Dracula (extracts)

History of English Literature (reference only):

L. M. Crisafulli e K. Elam (a cura di), Manuale di letteratura e cultura inglese, Bologna, BUP, 2009 [solo periodi e argomenti trattati durante il corso]

For Erasmus students:

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


2 essays on Shakespeare (3 for students who do not attend classes):

A Feminist Comapanion to Shakespeare, ed. Dympna Callaghan, Wiley Blackwell, 2016 (capitoli sui play in programma by Ania Looomba and Amanda Eubanks Winkler).

"Gender" by Andrew Hiscock, in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, Ed. by Arthur F. Kinney, 2011.

"Gender and Sexuality in Shakespeare" by Valerie Traub, in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare, eds. Margreta de Grazia, Stanley Wells, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Franco Marucci, History of English Literature, Volume 2, "Shakespeare", Peter Lang, 2018 (capitoli sui play in programma).

Giorgio Melchiori, Shakespeare. Genesi e struttura delle opere Edizioni Laterza, 1994 (capitoli sulle commedie in programma).

One essay from this list or from the critical essays uploaded in Virtuale (2 for students who do not attend classes):

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

Hogle Jerrold E., The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002.

Markman Ellis, The History of Gothic Fiction, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 2000.

Punter David, The Literature of Terror, Longman Group Limited, London 1980. oppure, in traduzione, Storia della letteratura del terrore: il gotico dal Settecento a oggi, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1997.

Wright Angela, Gothic Fiction, Palgrave MacMillian, London, agosto 2007

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