Select Academic Year:     2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022
First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Second Natures. Utopian and dystopian places from the early modern period to postmodernism.
Students will acquire a general and critical knowledge of the utopian and the dystopian genres. They will also be able to recognize themes, motives, and figurative devices usually found in utopian/dystopian texts, in any work where their direct or indirect influence may consistently affect their formal or thematic structure. The fictive status of literary works as creators of “second natures”, as P. Sidney put it, will also be discussed in connection to More’s Utopia.


Students should be able to:
- read, write and speak English with fluency
- summerize and discuss the content and subject matter of a literary or critical text after individual reading or class work.


Six credit course: the language, rhetorical devices and ideological aspects of Thomas More’s De optimo reipublicae statu deque nova insula Utopia in English translation will be analysed and discussed, together with the subsequent development of the genre in works of different periods. Orwell’s and Huxley’s dystopian texts will be set against their early modern Morean anti-model.

Twelve credit course: in addition to the contents of the six-credit course, a selection of texts in which utopian or dystopian themes and motives can be detected as highly influential, spanning from the XVIII century to present times, in different literary genres, will be analysed and discussed. The students’ active participation in class work activities is required and encouraged throughout the course.

Teaching Methods

Thirty plus thirty hour course. This includes lectures and class work, with individual text analysis and general discussion.

Verification of learning

Oral examination; students should be able to discuss any subject analysed during the course. Close reading of a selection of texts will be also required.


P. Bertinetti, a cura di, Storia della letteratura inglese (2 voll.), Torino, Einaudi
Arturo Cattaneo, A Short History of English Literature (2 vols.), Milano, Mondadori, 2011
F. Kermode, J. Hollander, eds., The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, 2 vols.
Thomas More, Utopia
Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis
P. Sidney, Defence of Poesie
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
S.T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
W. Wordworth, S.T. Coleridge, Preface to Lyrical Ballads
D. Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
R.L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
W. Pater, “Conclusion to The Renaissance”
O. Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
O. Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism
Gregory Claeys (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010
Bronislaw Baczko, L’utopia, Einaudi, Torino, 1978
Raymond Trousson, Viaggi in Nessun luogo. Storia letteraria del pensiero utopico. Ravenna, Longo, 1992

More Information

The present program gives only basic information. Detailed information and reading list will be finalized during the course.

Questionnaire and social

Share on: