Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LMJ400 (AF:395075 AR:211120)
Blended (on campus and online classes)
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This first-year course, as part of the LLEAP degree course, will furnish the students with advanced knowledge in the fields of English-speaking literatures and cultures (critical theories and methodologies, textual analysis and cultural-historical context). The course is part of the syllabus of EUROPEAN JOINT DEGREE IN ENGLISH AND AMERICAN STUDIES, and the competence achieved will be tested in the foreign universities where Joint Degree students spend a semester as part of the programme, in interaction with international students.

The course generally aims to develop students’ proficiency in the field of the history of English literature and culture of the early modern period (16th and 17th centuries). Students will enhance their skills in textual analysis of dramatic works, and in relating literary texts to their historical and cultural contexts, as well as to their subsequent reception (including rewriting and adaptation practices) up to the present. The analytic skills students have learnt to use in their BA course will be further verified and developed, to include knowledge of literary history, rhetoric, philology, critical methodology, and theory. In addition, they will broaden their experience in autonomous work and in discussing the results of their own research.
The learning outcomes of the course are 1. development of knowledge and understanding of the literary texts and the historical period; 2. the skill to apply this knowledge and understanding to a variety of texts;, 3. the ability to formulate judgements in analyzing literary and cultural phenomena; 4. the development of advanced communication skills in English; 5. the development of learning skills.
Students must be fully proficient in English: they must be able to speak English accurately and fluently as they will have to read early modern texts, understand lectures and take part in classroom as well as online discussions and presentations. Ideally, students should be familiar with Shakespeare's plays, their historical context and the theatrical culture of his time as well as the main conventions of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama (theatres, acting, language, etc).

The course will explore the cultural as well as mental world of early modern Elizabethans and Jacobeans regarding the Occult, a a society that was open to incorporating magic, witchcraft practices, astrology, alchemy etc in their "world picture". Playwrights exploited witchcraft and magic beliefs with which their audiences were familiar and brought to the stage intriguing fantasies of witches and magic rituals. Such representations show that a link developed in the minds of early modern writers between magic and theatricality. The course will investigate the way the emergence of the stage witch as a clear and recognizable stage type connected with questions of gender in the political and social realms, as well as the way adaptations/remediations of the witch plays have interpreted, refashioned and updated the discourse of witchcraft for contemporary readers and spectators. Part of the course will be devoted to analysis of adaptations of "Macbeth", "The Tempest" and "Othello" in popular culture.
All the articles and volumes indicated below (primary and secondary sources) are COMPULSORY reading and will be discussed during the final exam:

William Shakespeare, MACBETH. (suggested edition: OUP, edited by Nicholas Brooke, 1990);
William Shakespeare, THE TEMPEST (suggested edition: The Arden Shakespeare, edited by V. Mason Vaughan, revised edition, Bloombsbury, 2011);
Ben Jonson, THE MASQUE OF QUEENS in David Lindley, COURT MASQUES. JACOBEAN AND CAROLINE ENTERTAINMENTS 1605-1640, OUP, 1995, pp. 35-53 (the text of the masque is also available online at the following address )
Mary Cowden Clarke, "The Thane's Daughter" in THE GIRLHOOD OF SHAKESPEARE'S HEROINES, volume 1, CUP, 2009 (first ed. 1851), pp. 93-168 (available on Moodle)
Charles and Mary Lamb, "Macbeth" in TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE, 1807 (available in several modern editions and online

CONTEXT AND CRITICISM (equally compulsory)

Laura Tosi, "How Many Children Read Lady Macbeth? Prose Versions of the Scottish Play for Children", The Shakespearean International Yearbook, vol. 13, 2013, pp. 73-92 (available in Moodle)
Julie Sanders, ADAPTATION AND APPROPRIATION, Routledge, 2006 (pp. 1-62)

IMPORTANT: Students are advised to buy the suggested editions of the texts when indicated. In addition to the texts (primary sources, context and criticism) listed in this syllabus, students are required to download and study podcasts, articles, and videos that will be made available on Moodle. On some occasions, students will be required to download materials IN ADVANCE and bring them to class. Students are also required to engage in asynchronous online teaching where teaching materials are posted online (see "Metodi Didattici" below).
Oral exam at the end of the course. The final oral exam will cover all issues included in assigned reading, lectures, texts downloaded from the Moodle Platform as well as all activities offered on Moodle. In the oral exam students will have to show that they have become proficient in understanding and analysing both poetical and dramatic works, and relating literary texts to their historical and cultural contexts and to contemporary revisions of those texts. In the exam students will also have to prove that they have acquired the skill to make critical and autonomous judgments. Levels of linguistic knowledge and of the ability to communicate will also be assessed.

The Moodle asynchronous activities are not optional or discretionary. They are part of the course and as important as synchronous classes. If you don’t complete the asynchronous activities which require you to participate actively, your final mark will be affected, which means that If you don’t take part in any of the interactive activities, or your participation will cover less than 80% of the interactive activities, you will be given 4 penalty points, so your top grade at the oral exam won’t be more than 26. Of course, if you take part in at least 80% of the asynchronous activities, at the oral exam, if you do well, you will be able to get top marks.

This is a BLENDED COURSE, which means that it is completed partly online and partly at the University. The online part is provided through the e-learning platform of the university (Moodle). In a blended course some in-class time is substituted by equally meaningful online activities. The online components are not an addition to a full course load but a (hopefully well-designed and interesting) substitution of some in-class activities. While face-to-face classes will look like a traditional literature course (but with plenty of visuals, including slides and Shakespeare movies), asynchronous activities online will vary.They will include: written materials, articles and essays to read, podcasts and videoclips, powerpoint presentations with comment, quizzes, interactive situations like participation in online forums, etc. Students are required to participate in the activities as part of the course requirements. With an asynchronous mode of teaching, students can work at their own pace and at times of day which are convenient for them. But there will still be, occasionally, deadlines for work to be submitted for feedback. Students will be informed when materials and activities are posted on Moodle: messages will be sent to the email address they have used when registering on Moodle.

Students are warmly invited to read MACBETH before the beginning of the course. Non-attenders are required to contact prof. Tosi at least 8 weeks before the date of the exam in order to be assigned additional reading.
This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 15/09/2022