L-LIN/10 - 9 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course aims:

- to introduce and/or improve the study of English literature from its origins until the Romantics;

- to consolidate and enhance the students’ historical critical awareness of the key authors, texts and genres of the literary period;

- to help students develop a critical understanding of English Literature and Culture and use interpretative tools and critical methodologies, according to the method of textual analysis.

Detailed Course Content


Knowledge of the English civilisation, literature and culture from its origins to the Romantic period.


Re-Membering the Black Atlantic: Displacement, Identity, (Un)Belonging, in Caryl Phillips’s Diasporic Writing.Coined by Paul Gilroy the term Black Atlantic primarily denotes a complex chronotope or spatial and temporal extension calling for certain reading practices. It represents a unique metaphor evoking the formative historical experience of the Atlantic slave trade. In his literary works Caryl Phillips recalls the slave trade creatively and describes the multy-layered hybrid and complex space between Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean. Focusing on the link between memory and narrative but also between displacement and narrative, this module intends to provide an insight into Caryl Phillips’s diasporic writing whose instability metaphorically reproduces the instability of the Black Atlantic and the fluidity of the identities it has produced. In particular, through an in-dept reading of Phillips’s Cambridge and The Atlantic Sound, the aim of the module is to analyze the structure of these works which coalesce genres, geographical spaces, cultures, philosophies and beliefs to produce a polyphonic, many-voiced texts that crosses a number of borders and transgresses multiple boundaries. The strategies employed by Phillips to negotiate his sense of displacement, identity and (un)belonging will be also examined. The aim of the module is also to familiarise students, who, at the end of the course, will be able to reflect on colonialism and its legacies, with a range of critical and interpretative tools for the close analysis of texts.

Textbook Information


-Paolo Bertinetti, English Literature. A Short History,Torino, Einaudi, 2010 (the chapters related to the period);

-Lilla Maria Crisafulli e Keir Elam (a cura di), Manuale di Letteratura e Cultura Inglese, Bonomia University Press, Bologna, 2009 (the chapters related to the period);

- Andrew Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature, New York, O.U.P., 2000 (the chapters related to the period);

- A. Cattaneo, Short history of English Literature: From the Middle Ages to the Romantics, Milano, Mondadori, 2011. Vol. I.

-The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press;

-The Norton Anthology of English Literature , New York and London, W. W. Norton & Company.

Anthology: selected excerpts (available in the teacher's office).

Critical terms: J.A. Cuddon The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, London, Penguin, last ed.

Students are required to read two of the following books:

G. Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales;

C. Marlowe, Doctor Faustus;

W. Shakespeare, Hamlet;

W. Shakespeare, King Lear;

W. Shakespeare, Othello;

W. Shakespeare, The Tempest;

W. Congreve, The Way of the World;

J. Swift, Gulliver’s travels;

D. Defoe, Robinson Crusoe;

H. Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling;

S. Richardson, Pamela;

L. Sterne, A sentimental Journey through France and Italy;

H. Walpole, The Castle of Otranto;

W. Scott, Ivanhoe;

J. Austen, Pride and Prejudice;

M. Shelley, Frankenstein.


- Caryl Phillips, The Atlantic Sound, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, (selected parts).

- Caryl Phillips, Cambridge, London, Vintage Book, 1993;

Caryl Phillips, In the Falling Snow, London, Harvill Secker, 2009;

- Elleke Boehmer, “Imperialism and Textuality” in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Oxford, OUP, 1995, pp. 12-59;

- Elleke Boehmer, “Colonialist Concerns” in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Oxford, OUP, 1995, pp. 60-97;

- Nicholas B. Dirkis, “Colonialism and Culture” in B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, H. Tiffin (eds.) The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, Londond and New York, Routledge, 1995, pp. 57-61;

- Lars Eckstein, “Caryl Phillips, Cambrige” in Re-Membering the Black Atlantic. On the Poetics and Politics of Literary Memory. Amsterdam and New York, Rodopoi Press, 2006, pp. 64-115.

- Valeria Polopoli, Diasporic conditions, generational (dis)connections and transatlantic (dis)continuities in Caryl Phillips’s In The falling Snow” in Merope, 59-60 (gennaio-luglio 2014), Pescara,Tracce Edizioni, 2014, pp. 91-110.

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