31146 - English Literature 2 (A-L)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Serena Baiesi

  • Credits 9

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


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 students will be acquainted with the lineaments of English literary history. They will be able to read, understand and translate texts from English into Italian, and to deal with some basic critical methods and tools, in order to elaborate comments and critical opinions on the literary texts read during the course.

Course contents

Gender, Literature and Social Context in Great Britain from the XVIII to the XIX century.

The Romantic period saw the first generations of professional women writers flourish in Great Britain. The course will present several women writers from the late XVIII century, the Romantic and Victorian periods, exploring the social and liteary issues and challenges of their time, in conversation with male authors.

In particular, works by Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson, Charlotte Smith, Anna Barbauld, Amelia Opie, Jane Austen, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Brontë -- alongside with male authors such as William Wordworth, William Blake, Horace Wolpole, Lord Byron -- will be read and discussed.

The course will consider major literary genres, including poetry, fiction, drama, and political writing, as well as topics such as globalization, colonialism, feminism, economics, families, and sexualities. The aim of this course is to show how gender intersected with other aspects of identity and with cultural concerns that then shaped the work of authors, critics, and readers.

The course includes an introductory part dedicated to the history of English literature from the Eighteenth century, the Romantic to the Victorian Period.


Primary Sources available online

Womens's Rights: Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Robinson (estratti);

Slavery Poems: Helen Maria Williams, Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Amelia Opie (estratti);

Ecopoetry: Charlotte Smith, Dorothy Wordswoth and William Wordsworth (estratti);

Poetic Genius: Letitia Elizabeth Landon and Lord Byron (estratti);

Gothic Novel: Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley (estratti);

Novel of Manners: Jane Austen, Persuasion (tutto il romanzo in lingua inglese - edizione critica a scelta);

Victorian Woman: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (estratti)

Secondary Works:

Literary History (XVIII century; Romantic period; Victorian Age)

English Literature in Contex, ed. P. Poplawski (Cambridge UP 2008) Ch. 3 "Restoration and eighteenth Century"; Ch. 4 "The Romantic Period"; Ch. 5 "The Victorian Age".

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. II or The Oxford Anthology (sala consultazione - Biblioteca LLSM)

The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, "The Age of Romanticism", second ed., Broadview Press 2010.

The Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. J. Chandler, Cambridge UP 2009.

Saggi critici:

section 1)

n. 3 Essays at your choice  from the list (2 essays for those students who do not attend lectures):

Serena Baiesi, ‘It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda’: Meta-Discourses and Female Genealogies in Late Eighteenth-Century English Novels in: Women’s Voices and Genealogies in Literary Studies in English, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019, pp. 70-88.

Serena Baiesi, "Intersections and Metamorphoses of the ‘Female Gothic’" in Gothic Metamorphoses across the Centuries: Contexts, Legacies, Media, eds. M. Ascari, S. Baiesi, D. Levente Palatinus, Bern, Peter Lang, 2020, pp. 35-51.

S.Baiesi, Letitia Elizabeth Landon's The Improvisatrice: the Fatal Combination of Gender and Genre, in: Romantic Women Poets: Genre and Gender, AMSTERDAM, Rodopi, 2007, pp. 169 - 183.

S. Baiesi, Letitia Elizabeth Landon and Metrical Romance: the Adventures of a 'Literary Genius', OXFORD, Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 200

Serena Baiesi, “Poetry of Taste and Refinements”: Annuals e scrittura femminle nell’Inghilterra pre-vittoriana «TRANSPOSTCROSS», 2013, 2013.2, pp. 1 - 16 (on-line)

Janet Todd, The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen, Cambridge UP 2006. (Introduzione e capitoli relativi al romanzo Persuasion).

Susan L. Meyers, "Colonialism and the Figurative Strategy of Jane Eyre" in Victorian Studies 33.2 (1990)

Serena Baiesi, “I will Tell my Story, and my Reader shall Judge for Me”: Mary Shelley’s Stories for The Keepsake, in: Romantic Dialectics: Culture, Gender, Theater, Bern, Peter Lang, 2018, pp. 151 - 164.

Devoney Looser (ed.),The Cambridge Companion to Women's Writing in the Romantic Period, CUP 2015 (Chapter 4: "Essays and political writing"; Chapter 5 " The Gothic")

Section 2)

 One essay from this list (two essays for those students who do not attend lectures)

Anne K. Mellor, "Gender Boundaries" in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, Edited by David Duff, OUP 2013, (Ch. 13).

Stuart Curran, "Women Readers, Women Writers" in The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism, CUP 2006. (CH.8 - pp. 177-195)

Nancy Armstrong, "What Feminist did to the Novel studies" in The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Literary Theory, CUP 2006 (chapter 4, pp. 99-118)

Devoney Looser (ed.),The Cambridge Companion to Women's Writing in the Romantic Period, CUP 2015 (introduzione);

Teaching methods

Online and frontal lessons in English: introduction of the literary periods from the eighteenth century to the Victorian age; reading and comment of the primary sources; videos and film adaptations from literary works.

Assessment methods

The evaluation of the students' competencies and abilities acquired during the course consists in a written work at the end of the course for those students who attended classes regularly as well as for those who do not attend classes.

The written test is divided into two parts: the first will be made of open questions concerning the literary history of the period from the Eighteenth century to the Victorian period; the second part will require a critical comments on the topics and text listed in the syllabus.

Those students,who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during classes, are able 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