Academic year 2018/2019 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title AMERICAN LITERATURE 1 MOD. 2
Course code LMJ020 (AF:277262 AR:157026)
Modality Frontal Lesson
ECTS credits 6 out of 12 of AMERICAN LITERATURE 1
Degree level Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code L-LIN/11
Period 2nd Semester
Course year 1
Spazio Moodle Link allo spazio del corso
Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
The course is part of the Master’s Degree programs in European, American and Postcolonial Language and Literature and in Language Sciences and aims at providing students with advanced knowledge and skills in the field of American literature (late 19th and early 20th century). Students will improve their skills in analyzing prose texts and in relating such texts to their historical and cultural contexts. The analytical skills students have learnt during the BA course will be further verified and developed, to include more specialized knowledge of literary history, critical theory and methodology. In addition, they will broaden their experience in working autonomously and in presenting the results of their own research.
Expected learning outcomes
The learning outcomes of the course are 1. development of knowledge and understanding of the key literary texts of late 19th- and early 20th-century realist and naturalist literature; 2. the skill to apply this knowledge and understanding to other texts; 3. the development of advanced communication skills in English; 4. autonomous formulation of judgements in analyzing primary and secondary texts; 5. ability to work synergically with other students.
Advanced knowledge of oral and written English (≥ C1). Good knowledge of the history of American literature and of the key concepts of literary theory previously learned during the BA course in Languages, Civilisation and the Science of Language and/or through the reference books indicated below.
The course will examine key authors and texts which exemplify the varieties of American literary naturalism.
Referral texts
Primary texts (required):

Henry James, selected tales
Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)
Charles Chesnutt, The Colonel’s Dream (1905)
Jack London, Martin Eden (1909)
Edith Wharton, Summer (1917)

Secondary texts (required):
Donald Pizer, Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Southern Illinois UP, 1984, pp. 9-40.
Eric Carl Link, The Vast and Terrible Drama. American Literary Naturalism in the Late Nineteenth Century. University of Alabama Press, 2004, pp. 1-20.

Selection of further critical readings.

Reference Books:
Richard Gray. A Brief History of American Literature. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Hans Bertens. Literary Theory: The Basics. Routledge, 2014.

*All the required readings are available online or on moodle.

Assessment methods
1. Group presentations (30 minutes max.) on a text in the syllabus made in order to evaluate the ability to work synergically with other students; (20% of the final grade)
2. Short paper (3000 words max) in which students are required to show their skills in analyzing and contextualizing the texts in the syllabus in a critical and autonomous way. To be handed in at least one week before the exam (50% of the final grade)
3. Oral exam (30 minutes max.) in which students will be evaluated in their ability to analyze and contextualize literary texts in a critical and autonomous way. The level of English and communication skills will also be evaluated. (30% of the final grade for attending students; 50% for non attending students)
Teaching methods
Lectures, seminars and class discussion
Teaching language
Further information
Students are invited to attend the lectures and conferences organized by the American studies section.
Type of exam
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme