L-LIN/10 - 9 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

Drawing on the knowledge of English literary history already acquired during their second year, the course aims to introduce the students to the trends, movements and genres of English literature from the Victorian Age to the present age. The course aims to consolidate and enhance the students’ historical critical awareness of the key authors, texts and genres of the literary period from the Victorian Age to the present age. It also aims 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 civilization, literature and culture of the Victorian, Modernist, Postmodernist and Postcolonial periods.


Narrating nationhood: black British writing and the construction of new subject positions within the boundaries of the British nation.

In the wake of cultural globalization, contemporary Black British Writing portrays and purveys the dramatic cultural transformations that categories such as the imagined homogeneous identity of the nation and the supposed essentialized national identities are undergoing. Since the very first black British publications, black British writing has been involved in struggles over the production of identity. As a result, it has interrogated and expanded traditional concepts of British identity and British literature thus dismantling the constructed correspondence between whiteness and the British identity. This module introduces students to texts and debates that have animated black British writing and criticism from the 1950s onwards; it addresses textual engagements with identity and belonging and examines how mainstream literature is altered in centralising traditionally marginalised black voices and how it plays an important role in interpreting and presenting “new subject positions” within the national boundaries.

Textbook Information


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

- A. Cattaneo, Short history of English Literature: From the Victorians to the Presents, Milano, Mondadori, 2011. Vol. 2;.

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

- Andrew Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004 (the chapters erlaetd to the period);

-The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003 (selected parts);

-The Cambridge Companion To Postmodernism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004 (selected parts);

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

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

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

Anthology: a list of selected excerpts will be available in the teacher's office.

Students are required to read two of the following books:

C. Dickens, Great Expectations

E. Brontë, Wutherings Heights

T. Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbevilles

O. Wilde, The picture of Dorian Gray

G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion

R. Kipling, Kim

G. Conrad, The Nigger of the Narcissus

H. James, The Turn of the Screw

D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

E.M.Forster, A Room with a View

J. Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

V. Woolf, To the Lighthouse

G. Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

D. Lessing, The Grass is Singing

J. Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman

E. McEwan, Atonement

W. Golding, Lord of the Flies

J. Osborne, Look Back in Anger

S. Beckett, Happy Days

H. Pinter, The Caretaker

T. Stoppard, Night and Day

M. Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Broodie

T. Morrison, Beloved

Z. Smith, White Teeth,

J.M. Coetzee, Foe


- Diana Evans, 26a, London, Vintage Books, 2006;

- Bernardine Evaristo, Lara,

- Andrea Levy, Small Island, London, Headline Review, 2005 (selected parts);

-B. Anderson, Imagined Communities, London, Verso, 1983 (selected parts);

- A. Donnell, “Nation and contestation: Black British Writing” in Wasafiri 2002, pp. 11-17;

- E. U. Pirker, “Writing War―Writing Windrush. Andrea Levy’s Novel Small Island” in Narrative Projections of a Black British History, New York and London, Routledge, 2011, pp. 149-177;

- V. Polopoli, Narrating Nationhood: Constructed Identities in Andrea Levy’s Small Island” in B.A.S. British and American Studies, University of Timisoara, vol. XXI, Diacritic Publishing, Timisoara, 2015, pp. 108-116;

-M. Stein, Black British Literature: Novels of Transformations, Columbus, Ohio State University Press, 2004 (selected parts):

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