L-LIN/11 - 9 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

Knowledge (Contents)

Genres, texts, contexts and representative North American writers in English (XVII-XXI century).


Know-How (Skills)

Text-types and literary genres recognition. Critical reading (textual/contextual analysis) of representative Anglo-American works.

Course Structure

Lessons and assignements

Detailed Course Content

Module A “Texts, Contexts, Cognitive Maps”

Concise history of AmLit (XVII-XXI centuries). Introduction to a critical reading of works, authors, themes, motifs, text-types, genres, forms.


Module B “Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman, and Modernist poetry”

The influence of Emersonian Transcendentalism, as “revised” and “misread” by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, on XX century Modernist poetry and poetics.

Textbook Information

► Module A

1) All the writers and major “literary movements” as per one of the following literary histories: P. Lauter (ed.), A Companion to American Literature and Culture, Hobboken, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010; R. Gray, A History of American Literature, Blackwell, Malden and Oxford 2004; G. Fink, Storia della letteratura americana, Milano, Rizzoli, 2013.

Students are encouraged to consult the following reference sites:

D. Campbell, Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events: Pre-1620 to 1920:

Poetry Foundation:


2) Sixteen representative texts chosen from one of the following anthologies: P. Lauter (gen. ed.), The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Lexington, D.C. Heath & Co. (whatever edition); N. Baym et alii, (eds.), The Norton Anthology of American Literature, New York, W. W. Norton & Co. (whatever edition); D. McQuade et alii (eds.), The Harper American Literature, New York, HarperCollins ( (whatever edition).


3) Two classics, in whatever critical edition, chosen from the following list: B. Franklin, Autobiography (1793); W. Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1820); J.F. Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (1826); E.A. Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque (1840); F. Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845); N. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850); M. Fuller, Memoirs (1852); H. Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor (1891); Mark Twain, Pudd’n’head Wilson (1894); S. Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895); K. Chopin, The Awakening (1899); J. London, The Iron Heel (1908); E. Wharton, The Age of Innocence (1920); F.S. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise (1920); T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922); W. Stevens, Harmonium (1923); J. Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (1925); W. Cather, The Professor’s House (1925); N. Larsen, Passing (1929); W. Faulkner, Sanctuary (1931); G. Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933); E. Hemingway, Winner Take Nothing (1933); D. Barnes, Nightwood (1936); J. Fante, Ask the Dust (1939); C. McCullers, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (1940); H.D., Trilogy (1944); S. Bellow, Dangling Man (1944); T. Capote, The Grass Harp (1951); R. Ellison, Invisible Man (1952); A. Miller, The Crucible (1952); J. Barth, The Floating Opera (1956); E. O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956); J. Kerouac, On the Road (1957); W. Burroughs, The Naked Lunch (1959); A. Baraka, Blues People (1963); G. Brooks, Selected Poems (1963); A. Sexton, Selected Poems (1964); R. Brautigan, The Abortion (1971); V. Nabokov, Tyrants Destroyed and Other Stories (1975); J. Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975); L.M. Silko, Ceremony (1977); Ph. K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly (1977); W. Abish, How German Is It (1980); S. Plath, The Collected Poems (1981); R. Coover, Spanking the Maid (1982); J. Kosinski, Pinball (1982); E. Bishop, Complete Poems, 1927-1979 (1983); R. Carver, Cathedral (1983); R. Creeley, Collected Poems, 1945-1975 (1983); J. Harjo, She Had Some Horses (1983); D. Mamet, Glengarry Glenn Ross (1983); W. Gibson, Neuromancer (1984); T. Morrison, Beloved (1987); J. Ellroy, My Dark Places (1996); D. DeLillo, Underworld (1997); J. Franzen, The Corrections (2001); J. Eugenides, Middlesex (2002); D.F. Wallace, Oblivion (2004); J.S. Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005); H. Mathews, My Life in CIA (2005); Th. Pynchon, Inherent Vice (2009).


► Module B

R.W. Emerson. “Brahma”; “Nature”.


E. Dickinson. “Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers”; “I like a Look of Agony”; “Wild Nights”; “I heard a fly buzz when I died”; “Of being is a bird”; “A little Snow was here and there”; “I dwell in possibility”; “Because I could not stop for death”; “A narrow fellow in the grass”; “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”.


W. Whitman. “Starting from Paumanok”.


W. Stevens. “Blanche McCarthy”; “The Curtains in the House of the Metaphysician”; “Domination of Black”; “The Snow Man”; “Angel Surrounded by Paysans”; “Of Mere Being”.


G. Stein. “Ada”; “Sacred Emily”.


E. Pound. “In a Station of the Metro”; “A Pact”.


T.S. Eliot. “Hysteria”; “Rhapsody on a Windy Night”.


H. Crane. “Chaplinesque”; “Voyages”.


M. Moore. “A Jellyfish”; “To a Chamelion”.


E. Bishop. “Casabianca”; “Insomnia”.


J. Hollander, Rhyme’s Reason. A Guide to English Verse, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

P. Childs. Modernism. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.


► Further readings

On the literary text, in prose or verse, student may wish to consult: L. Chines, C. Varotti, Che cos’è un testo letterario, Roma, Carocci, 2015 (2nd ed.); J. Hollander, Rhyme’s Reason. A Guide to English Verse (New, Enlarged Edition), New Haven, Yale University Press, 1989.


Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied.

For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright).

All the books listed in the programs can be consulted in the Library, or online on the abovementioned sites, if not anymore copyrighted.

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano