26019 - English Women's Literature

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Lilla Maria Crisafulli

  • Credits 6

  • 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)

  • Course Timetable from Feb 13, 2023 to Apr 24, 2023

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The student possesses in-depth knowledge of English women's literature. He is able to use practical methodologies for the analysis and the interpretation of the literary text

Course contents

Title of the course: "From Mary Wollstonecraft to Mary Shelley: gender, trauma and memory"

The course will examine the rise of a proto-feminist awareness in the revolutionary and Romantic Age and the relationship between gender, trauma and memory, through the reading and analysis of texts written between the end of the XVIII and the beginning of the XIX century. In particular two authors and their works will be discussed: Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Starting from Mary Wollstonecraft's novel Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman, that will be compared to Wollstonecraft’s educational and political texts, the course will then focus on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the light of its historical, philosophical and political context. Passages from the selected texts will be read and discussed in relation to their different periods, taking into account the various forms of discourse and languages through which female bodies and identities were shaped and conveyed. What will be also explored is the way in which women writers of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods contributed and responded to the political issues of the time and to the gender discourse that was under construction.

Students are asked to read Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before the course starts.

In the current academic year, this course is related to other courses, within the degree programme of the European Master GEMMA, that also engage with the macro concepts “Identity, alterity, difference, diversity”.


Primary sources

M.Wollstonecraft, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman (published posthumously in 1798)  

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

Critical reading:

L. M. Crisafulli e Giovanna Silvani (a cura di), Mary vs Mary, Liguori, 2021

L. M. Crisafulli and K. Elam (a cura di), Manuale di Letteratura e Cultura Inglese, Bononia University Press, 2009 (some chapters), (Biblioteca di Lingue)

L.M. Crisafulli and G. Golinelli, Women's Voices and Genealogies in Literary Studies in English, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019

Gary Kelly, Revolutionary Feminism: Mind and Career of Mary Wollstonecraft, Palgrave Macmillan, 1992.

Levine and U. C. Knopflmacher eds. The Endurance of Frankenstein: essays on Mary Shelley's Novel, Berkley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 1979.

Carol M. Devison and Marie Mulvey-Roberts eds., Global Frankenstein, Palgrave (2018)


Teaching methods

The course will be organized on seminar base, encouraging students to participate in class discussion. Presentation and discussion of written essays will also take place either within the class or during the oral exam.

Assessment methods

Students will be asked to present papers  and will be also assessed on the basis of their performance during the course. The final exam will consist in one written essays and an oral discussion.

Attendance and class partecipation will also be assessed as the component of the final overall mark.

Teaching tools

Audio-visual equipment; Power-Point Projection; texts, photocopies and other documents will be provided during the course.

Office hours

See the website of Lilla Maria Crisafulli