Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT2030 (AF:335809 AR:176348)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Class 2
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The module is part of the modules specifically related to the Languages taught in the LCSL degree course. Its aim is that of enlarging the knowledge of the linguistic, literary and cultural heritage of Great Britain by focussing on some of its main characteristics, as far as its history, social and political culture are concerned, while – at the same time - further widening, through the reading of texts in the original language, the students’ lexical mastery of the English language.
The course will investigate, through the reading of classics and critical texts, the characteristic features and peculiarities of British history and British social and political culture, as they have developed historically over the centuries in the wider context of European history. Students will develop their critical capacity of analysis of those phenomenons, and their consciousness of the implied social, scientifical, and ethical issues. Through the analysis of the texts on the syllabus, the students’ capacity of critical understanding and judgement - in a language both specific and proper- will be enhanced, also in a larger comparative perspective involving their knowledge and experience of Italian national culture.
A very good knowledge of the English language
"The representation of the metropolis in the English culture and literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries"
The module will discuss the ways in which literati responded to the energetic, rumbustious and anarchic development of the modern metropolis in Great Britain (i.e. London, but not only) from the early eighteenth century, when London emerged as the new, great city of international commerce through the nineteenth century, when the Industrial revolution changed the shape of rural England into a metropolitan society based on the rise of industrial sites and large built-up areas, to the early twentieth century when the city mirrored the modern condition of individuals as mass men lost in the crowd of people and in the confusion of sounds, shapes, and the several stimulations that the urban environment produced.
Topics analysed in the module will include the city as a space of the imagination and representation; the city as stimulation on the writers' imagination as proxy of the city dweller (blasé, flaneur, Mass-Mensch [mob], consumer, etc.); experience as story: the city landscape as topography of the mind; the city and the construction of identity. Through a variety of texts, students will be confronted with the emergence of London from peripheral European capital to global cosmopolis.
We will read this development as part of the formation of the modern conscience through the classic interpretations given by Charles Baudelaire, Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefevbre and other thinkers.
Primary texts:-
- John Gay, "Trivia, or the Art of Walking through the Streets of London" (see moodle materials)
- Jonathan Swift, "Description of a City Shower" (see moodle materials)
- William Blake, "London" (see moodle materials)
- William Wordsworth, "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" (see moodle materials)
- Selected passages from Charles Dickens's novels (see moodle materials: "Charles Dickens and the city of London: An anthology" )

- chapters 7 and 8 from Roy Porter, "London: A Social History", Penguin, 1996 (BALI EH POR/Lon ; BAUM 942.1 PORTR)
- chapters 7 & 8 from Lawrence Manley (ed.), "The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of London", Cambridge UP, 2011 (BALI)
- essay: F. Gregori, "The "Audacious" Art of Walking: The Metropolis and the Proto-Flaneur in John Gay's 'Trivia' " (see moodle materials: Essay on 'Trivia')
Written examination.

The exam will comprise:
A. 3 questions with open answers on the critical readings on the history of London, the social and cultural meanings of the metropolis, and the relationship between the urban environment and literature,including various viewpoints on the metropolitan culture given by the sociologists, philosophers and urbanists that will be discussed in class ("Criticism" in the programme) (up to 15 marks);
B. a one-to-two page essay that contextualises literary passages chosen from the works in the programme ("Primary texts") within the social, cultural and political development of the urban world (up to 15 marks).
The examination will be in English. Students will be allowed to use a monolingual dictionary of English; no other dictionaries, books, nor tablets, smartphones etc. will be allowed during the exam.

Students will be informed by the teacher, in class and through announcements on his unive webpage, if the covid emergency obliges them to sit it as oral exam.
Front lectures, seminars, presentations.
Non attending students are requested to contact the teacher for supplementary readings, which they may find in the moodle materials (signalled as "for non attending students")

Students who do not participate to lessons (either in class or online) are non-attending students. Students who simply watch the panopto videos and do not interact in class are non-attending students.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Cities, infrastructure and social capital" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 21/12/2020