It must seem like a strange setup, going to Italy to study English literature. And it is, but it’s not without sense. Taking a year abroad in the middle of an English degree and then returning to the UK for the original final year would, if you didn’t study English during that year, most likely have a negative effect on your final year grades. A year without practice would not be good preparation for the final — most intense — year of study. As it turns out, English students who take an Erasmus year almost uniformly score highly in their overall degree. The addition of a year with which to learn about literature really waters that final year garden.
In this post I’m going to briefly describe the three English Literature modules I’m studying in Turin. They belong to Italian degrees not only for English Literature, but also for English Language and for Tourism, and Erasmus students can pick and choose as they please. These are what I pleased. I’ve slightly shortened the module titles because they were long.
Film and Image:
This module has two parts. The first is an abridged summary of the entirety of English literature, designed to put the second half into context. The second is the viewing of a selection of films based on literature, and the comparison of the films to the original texts. For example, Sense and Sensibility and Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995), or A Room with a View and A Room with a View (James Ivory, 1985).
From Romanticism to the Early 20th Century:
This module is, to be honest, pretty self explanatory — is what I would be saying if there weren’t also a strong post-colonial studies element to it. No reference to the colonies, or lack of reference to the colonies, or aspect which might somehow relate to the colonies, goes unremarked upon. I wasn’t expecting this, but you’ve got to admire the consistency. So not quite what you’d expect after all. The excellent selection of texts includes The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Great Expectations, and Mrs Dalloway.
An Introduction to English Literature in the 20th Century:
Another history section to this module, although just Romanticism to the 20th century this time, and untaught in lectures. This one features an interesting and unexpected selection of texts, such as The End of the Affair, Possession, and Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Dare I say many of the books on this module aren’t ones which are likely to come up in a Leicester degree? Not outside of optional modules, anyway. It also revealed to me a strange fact, something that you won’t find in tourist guides or on TV: Italy seems to be very fond of Graham Greene.