English Literature (2010/2011)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Rita Severi
Rita Severi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course will examine both English and American writers who have travelled to Italy and have been inspired by that country. First we will analyze the role played by the great Romantic writers Byron, Shelley and Keats who lived most of their young lives in Italy and produced many of their most successful works while living abroad. For all three we’ll also examine how their fame migrated to America and how their Italian topics and themes surfaced in American poetry. By reading a few chosen works of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the novelist, journalist, American consul to Venice, during the Lincoln presidency, William Dean Howells, we will realize how Italian settings and Italian writers (Dante, in particular) influenced both their outlook and their works. We will also see how Anglo- Italian relations evolve throughout the 19th century and will be defined, at the end of the period, by such writers as Vernon Lee and Henry James.


Romantic poets in Italy:

*G. Byron, Parisina (1816), bilingual ed., Rimini, Raffaelli, 2007;
references to Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Book IV (1818)
P. B. Shelley, Julian and Maddalo(1818)
* Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici (1822)
*J. Keats, After Reading Dante’s Episode of Paolo &Francesca, A Dream; *Letters: Sept. 21, 1819; Nov. 30, 1820 From Rome.

During the Risorgimento:

*Ch. Dickens, Pictures from Italy (1846) Verona and Mantua
*R. Browning; Two in the Campagna (1855); *My Last Duchess (1842), *A Toccata of Galuppi’s (1855)
E. B. Browning; Casa Guidi Windows (1851)

Americans and the fantastic, poetic, political vision of Italy:

*N Hawthorne, The Marble Faun (1860) (a chapter)
*H. Wadsworth Longfellow, trans. The Divine Comedy (1865-67) (and the Dante Circle: Lowell and Norton)
*W. Dean Howells, Italian Journeys (1867) (selection)

The aesthetic imagination:

*O. Wilde, At Verona (1881)
*M. Hewlett, Madonna of the Peach Tree (1899) and
V. Lee, Genius Loci. Notes on Places (1899), bilingual ed., Bologna, Patron, 2007.
*E. Wharton, Italian Backgrounds (1905), (a chapter)
*H. James, Italian Hours (1909) (a chapter)

Required Reading:
All the texts listed are required reading for the course. Except for Byron, Parisina, Rimini, Raffaelli, 2007 and M. Hewlett, Madonna of the Peach Tree/ Madonna del Pesco (and Vernon Lee in Verona), Bologna, Patron 2007(available in bookstores, i.e.QUI-EDIT), all the other texts are available from the WEB, or from the professor during office hours (Wed. 11-1p.m.).

* class reading and discussion

Assessment methods and criteria

Written and oral. Students are encouraged to prepare an oral presentation of a chosen topic. Regular attendance is requested. Students who decide to study on their own, will have to take their written tests before the oral one during each exam session.