30649 - English Literature 2 (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Gino Scatasta

  • Credits 9

  • SSD L-LIN/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Modern, Post-Colonial and Comparative Literatures (cod. 0981)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 28, 2022 to Nov 30, 2022


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

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Students will have a deep knowledge of Modern British Literature, in particular as far as the relationship between literary texts and their historical, linguistic and artistic context is concerned. They will know the critical methodologies to read and analyze literary texts and be able to use them. He will be able to elaborate complex analyses and formulate independent reflections on specific research topics.

Course contents

A Door into the Dark'? the Irish novel of the last fifty years (or so)

In the early 1990s, it seemed that the future of the novel lay in Ireland. A rapidly changing society with all the contradictions that this entailed, a part of the country in the grip of a civil war that was coming to an end but still claiming victims, an increasingly widespread affluence (but not shared by all) that would soon transform a land of emigrants into a land of immigrants, a centuries-old conflict between innovation and tradition: these were some of the many elements that made up the literary production that in this decade sought to represent a changing society and to give tools to orient oneself within it.

What has remained of that artistic and literary ferment more than twenty years later? What are the themes and trends in the contemporary Irish novel? Does it still possess that vitality and will to interpret Irish society and above all to change it?

In the first part of the course, the Irish novel from the 1960s onwards will be analysed, focusing in particular on the last decade of the 20th century, while in the second part, with the contribution of Beatrice Masi, more recent trends in the Irish novel will be explored.


List 1

Edna O'Brien, The Country Girls, 1960, any edition

Roddy Doyle, The Commitments, 1989, any edition

Mike McCormack, Notes from a Coma, New York, Soho Press Inc., 2013 (first edition 2005)

Sara Baume, A Line Made by Walking, Dublin, Tramp Press, 2016 or Boston, Mariner Books, 2018



List 2 (one of your choice)

John Banville, The Newton Letter, 1982

Dermot Bolger, The Journey Home, 1990

John McGahern, Amongst Women, 1990

Joseph O'Connor, Cowboys and Indians, 1991

Patrick Mc Cabe, The Butcher Boy, 1992

Neil Jordan, Sunrise with Sea Monster, 1994

Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, 1996


List 3 (one of your choice)

Anne Enright, The Forgotten Waltz, London, Jonathan Cape, 2011

Kevin Barry, City of Bohane, London, Vintage Random House, 2012

Conor O’Callaghan, Nothing on Earth, Dublin, Doubleday, 2016

Mike McCormack, Solar Bones, Dublin, Tramp Press, 2016

Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends, London, Faber & Faber, 2017

Doireann Ní Ghríofa, A Ghost in the Throat, Dublin, Tramp Press, 2020


Required critical texts

Declan Kiberd, After Ireland, London, Head of Zeus Ltd, 2018

Roberta Gefter Wondrich, “Romanzo del Sud”, in Renzo S. Crivelli, a cura di, La letteratura irlandese contemporanea, Roma, Carocci, 2007, pp. 25-65



Students will be required to read THREE novels from list 1, and TWO novels between list 2 and list 3.

Additional critical texts will be provided at the beginning of class.

Assessment methods

The examination consists of an oral interview. The oral interview aims to assess the critical and methodological skills acquired by the student, who will be invited to compare the texts addressed during the course. Particularly assessed will be the student's ability to move within the sources and bibliographical material in order to be able to identify useful information that will allow him to illustrate the cultural aspects and areas of the discipline. The student's attainment of an organic vision of the themes addressed in the lessons together with their critical use, the demonstration of a mastery of expression and specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence. The mostly mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, unarticulated synthesis and analysis skills and/or correct but not always appropriate language will lead to fair grades; formative gaps and/or inappropriate language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to grades that do not exceed sufficiency. Inadequate training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation in the bibliographic materials offered during the course will lead to negative marks.

Erasmus or Overseas students could sit the exam as the Italian students or write an essay (about 10-15 pages), whose topic must be approved by the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Gino Scatasta