Academic year 2018/2019 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title AMERICAN LITERATURE
Course code LMJ390 (AF:278342 AR:140137)
Modality Blended (on campus and online classes)
ECTS credits 6
Degree level Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code L-LIN/11
Period 1st Semester
Course year 1
Spazio Moodle Link allo spazio del corso
Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
This course focuses on three major Canadian writers of the late twentieth century: Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatjie. Students are expected to:
1. know in depth representative texts from the works of the three authors under scrutiny;
2. know the ingredients of what is meant by Canadianness in the three contexts that emerge from the texts under scrutiny (the wilderness, rural Canada, urban Canada);
3. skillfully handle stylistic and formal concepts, applying them to the texts in the syllabus contrastively with special attention to the effect they create on readers;
4. read and discuss knowledgeably the secondary materials in the syllabus, formulating judgements;
5. analyze and contextualize primary and secondary texts with self-direction and autonomy.
Expected learning outcomes
Recognize and compare the texts in the syllabus as well as articulate with ease their formal and thematic features.
Advanced knowledge of English language
The course presents some representative texts (both novels and short stories) by three writers who have been prominent in Canadian literature in the second half of the twentieth century. The texts in the syllabus help to explore the three contexts that are deemed crucial for an understanding of the concept of Canadianness: the wilderness, the rural and the urban contexts.
Referral texts
Margaret Atwood
Primary texts:
From Wilderness Tips (“Hairball”, “The Bog Man”, “Death by Landscape”, “Wilderness Tips”)
Secondary texts:
Atwood, Margaret. Survival. 25-68
——. Negotiating with the Dead. A Writer on Writing. 123-153
Bouson, Brooks. “Cultural Feminism, Female Madness, and Rage in Surfacing.” In Brutal Choreographies. Oppositional Strategies and Narrative Design in the Novels of Margaret Atwood. 39-61.
Davidson, Arnold. “Negotiating Wilderness Tips.” In Approaches to Teaching Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Works. 180-186.
Atwood, Margaret. Paris Review. The Art of Fiction. No. 121

Alice Munro:
primary texts:
From Dear Life, "Dear Life"
From Dance of the Happy Shades, The Peace of Utrecht"
From Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (“Floating Bridge” “Nettles”)
secondary texts:
Munro, Alice. Paris Review. The Art of Fiction. No. 137
Blodgett, E.D. Alice Munro. Pp. 1-13
Martin, W.R. Alice Munro. Paradox and Parallel. Pp. 1-13; 187-206.

Michael Ondaatje
primary texts:
In the Skin of a Lion
Secondary texts:
Barbour, Douglass. Michael Ondaatje. 1-9;179-205.

All course materials (with the exclusion of the two novels, Surfacing and In the Skin of the Lion) are available on moodle.
Assessment methods
The written exam consists in three Essay Questions and one Close Reading. It aims at assessing the student’s skills at:
1. applying a specific and precise vocabulary in discussing the relationship between formal choices and thematic issues connecting two or more texts among the ones discussed (Essay Questions);
2. recognizing the features of the poetics presented and demonstrating the capacity to handle the critical materials in the syllabus flexibly and appropriately while analyzing two brief excerpts taken from two texts in the syllabus (Close Reading);
3. articulating interpretive autonomous judgements while entering in a critical conversation with the texts in the syllabus (Essay Questions and Close Reading).

Duration and evaluation:
the exam must be completed in 4 hours. Students must obtain a pass in each part in order to pass the whole exam.

Instead of sitting for the written-exam, attending students may choose to write a paper (5000-6000 words) on a topic to be agreed upon with the instructor and then sit for an oral exam.
Attending students will have the option to complete the Close Reading during the course with one midterm (the details and date will be posted on Moodle).
IMPORTANT: non-attending students—who are invited to e-mail the instructor or come during office-hours to present themselves—, are required to complement the written exam with an oral exam.
Teaching methods
BLended Course: Lectures and class discussion + online activities
Teaching language
Further information
The course will be on moodle
Type of exam
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme