Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LMJ370 (AF:330506 AR:175486)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The general AIMS of the module, with regard to the course of studies to which it belongs are:
1) to increase the knowledge and comprehension of English literature at higher (M.A.) level, through the study of its development in the eighteenth century;
2) to acquire a better command of theoretical approaches, hermeneutical tools for textual analysis and close reading; along with acquiring the competence to contextualise them in the historical and literary background;
3) to be able to comprehend English culture (specifically in the eighteenth century) through a better understanding of its relevant texts and documents. Students will learn the history of English literature both from a cultural and an aesthetic viewpoint, as well as in its relation with the political and social history of England and Great Britain. They will apply their hermeneutic abilities to the comprehension of complex literary texts, their relation with the cultural and socio-political background, their rhetorical strategies and aesthetic qualities. They will be able to produce a discussion of complex texts and connect them to the historical framework to which they belong.

The module will be taught entirely in English.
The module will provide the critical tools to be able
1) to conduct an autonomous bibliographic search in English;
2) to provide critical commentaries, short essays, and a final thesis in English, using the critical-hermeneutical knowledge acquired in the module, also through a personal reading of texts;
3) to enter a dialogue with the critical state of art on texts and themes, and debate one's positions in public;
4) to translate literary text and critical analyses into Italian with a good knowledge of the theories and varieties of translation;
5) to operate in various intercultural contexts.
In the Joint Degree / Double Degree course the acquired competence with be implemented in an interaction with the students, and in the contexts, of the universities participating in the consortium.
Good general knowledge of the cultural and literary history of English literature.
A general knowledge of history and cultural history in the seventeenth and eigheenth centuries will be helpful.
An excellent command of the English language (C1) will be needed in order to understand and comment on complex texts.
"Passions, Happiness and Terror in the Eighteenth-Century Fiction, from Sentimentalism to the Gothic"
The module will focus on the main issues discussed in eighteenth-century English literature, with special regard to the themes of the development of a rational thought based on the empirical-critical study of the world and self by the intellect; the rise of a philosophy and culture of the passions felt through the senses (sentiments); the development of theories of sympathy and fellow-feeling; and the urge to, and wish for, happiness understood as central in man's psychological and social nature; the role of fear in political and aesthetic thoeries of the human mind.
Those themes and issues will be analysed, discussed and commented on, by reading and interpreting as well as some chosen literary texts (as in the list below).
1. Laurence Sterne, "A Sentimental Journey" (Broadview Press)
2. Henry Mackenzie, "The Man of Feeling" (Broadview Press)
3. Sarah Fielding, "David SImple" (Oxford Classics, or Penguin)
4. Horace Walpole, "The Castle of Otranto" (Oxford Classics) (non mandatory reading)*
5. Selected passages from Edmund Burke, "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful" (slide in moodle; complete text online: https://archive.org/details/enqphilosophical00burkrich ) (non mandatory reading)*
6. other materials in moodle

(*students may decide to substitute the reading of Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey" with Walpole and Burke; they must agree with teacher on this substitution before they sit the exam)

- for the eighteenth-century context, as far as its main themes and issues are concerned: Roy Porter, "Enlightenment" (Penguin; chapters: "Introduction", 5, 6, 7, 10-14, 19; Ca' Foscari BALI-Studi Europei e Postcoloniali: INGLESE E X4 POR/Enl)
- for the sentimental themes in the eighteenth century: R.F. Brissenden, "Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade" (Macmillan; chapters 1 through 3; Ca' Foscari BALI-Studi Europei e Postcoloniali: INGLESE E X4 BRIS/Vir)*; J. Mullan, "Sympathy and the Production of Society" from "Sentiment and Sociability" (Oxford University Press)
- for an overview of the English novel in the 1750s: S. Dickie, "Novels of the 1750s"; G. Sill, "Developments in Sentimental Fiction", D.H. Richter (**) "The Gothic Novel and the Lingering Appeal of Romance", in A.J. Downie, "The Oxford Handbook of the Eighteenth-Century Novel" (Oxford University Press), pp. 252-63; 426-39; 472-88.

*accessible online also here (through free subscription): https://archive.org/details/virtueindistress0000bris/page/n1/mode/2up
** compulsory only for those students taking Walpole's Castle of Otranto

Further critical essays on specific novels will be communicated by the teacher during the semester, and can found on the moodle platform of the module.

Non attending students who watched the lessons on the panopto videos will have to read, in addition to the above:
- the Introductions to the 3 novels in the programme, as well as the materials provided in the appendices in the Broadview editions of the novels n. 2 and 3.

Non attending students who did not watch the lessons on the panopto videos are asked to contact the teacher and will have to read, in addition to the above:
- the Introductions to the 3 novels in the programme, as well as the materials provided in the appendices in the Broadview editions of the novels n. 2 and 3.
Written test based on the programme.
The test will be made of questions with open answers and will be divided into three parts:
A. General themes and topics (history of 18th-century literature and culture): students will choose 3 out of 6 questions (answers will have to be about 10-15 lines long) (Aim 1)
B. A short essay (one sheet long) based on one of the authors/themes discussed in class; students will choose 1 out of 2 questions (Aim 2)
C. A commentary (one sheet long) on a passage selected from one of the texts in the programme, meant to discuss the rhetorical (as well as poetic, narrative, etc.) strategies, the themes, the connections to the historical background in the text (Aim 3)

Students will be allowed to use a monlingual English dictionary. Other dictionaries or texts won't be allowed. The use of smartphones, tablets and other devices will be forbidden during the exam.
Time allowed to complete the written exam: 2 hours
Front lectures that will introduce the students to the topics and the texts in the programme; seminars with students' presentations and joint discussions of the texts in the programme.
Students can give a presentation on a topic relevant to the course. The relevant readings will be agreed upon with the teacher. Those students who give a presentation won't be asked to answer question C in the written test.

The students who are unable to attend classes (“non frequentanti”) are advised to see the teacher during his office hours or by appointment (not via email).
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 11/12/2020