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CODE 65278
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:



MA literary courses involve lectures and workshops; they aim to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of aspects/moments in the history of British literature and culture from the Renaissance to the present age. Students will also learn and discuss all the critical and theoretical issues involved in the establishment of the literary canon and in its recent revisions.


Students who attend the classes regularly, engage in the course activities, and study the prescribed material, will

- comprehend the main developments of contemporary British literature and culture from 1980s to date, especially the first two decades of the twenty-first century;

- identify the genres and forms of recent fiction and recognise some basic concepts of contemporary theory and philosophy;

- think critically on fictional representations of Transhumanism, Artificial Intelligence and more generally the posthuman;

- analyse literary works in the light of theoretical and critical instruments;

- evaluate arguments and challenge assumptions;

- work effectively with others in groups and learn collaboratively through discussion and interaction;

- communicate ideas and arguments effectively, in class
 discussion and in written form;

- locate relevant bibliographical resources and use them;

- produce an academic and/or creative text.



This course will include lectures, seminars and written tasks.




The module From the Postmodern to the Posthuman: Clones, Robots and Androids in Contemporary Fiction is taught in the first semester. The introductory classes familiarise the students with the political, economic and social contexts of the late twentieth century as well as the British literature and culture of the same period through a selection of excerpts from novels and films. The remaining and longer part of the course investigates the social, economic and cultural contexts of the first two decades of the millennium and explores the literature of the same period with a special emphasis on the theme of the posthuman.

Literature and popular culture have often speculated about the future scenarios that technological innovations seem to usher in. The popularity of TV series such as 'Black Mirror' (2011-2013) testifies to a widespread interest in the ability of the arts and media to imagine what it would be like to interact morally and more and more intimately with posthuman entities. Cyborgs, robots and androids have long been populating the pages of science fiction texts, but they are increasingly present today in what is marketed as 'literary fiction', as in the last novels by Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. The course focuses on literature but also gestures towards larger cultural imaginaries influenced by scientific and technological developments.

The novels analysed in the course interrogate fascinating and riveting questions — from cloning to Transhumanism — exploring the changing conceptions of the “human” in the age of cognitive capitalism, which is driven by the accelerated pace of development of Artificial Intelligence and the neuroscience with their fusion of the digital and the biological worlds. The module will investigate questions related to the increasingly blurred boundaries between humans and machines, the ethics of artificial intelligence, alternative presents and dystopian futures, the consciousness of robots, the relationship between human and non-human or quasi-human entities, the predicaments of clones, and other compelling issues that contemporary novelists address in their fiction.



- A selection of chapters from postmodern novels;

- Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005);

- Ian McEwan, Machines Like Me, and People Like You (2019);

- Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (2021);

- a selection of nonfiction and of literary and cultural criticism;

- excepts from films and TV series, as well as other audiovisual materials.

All anthological, critical and audiovisual materials will be made available in aulaweb.

A more detailed list, including additional readings for the ‘non frequentanti’ will also be posted in aulaweb.




Tuesday 4 October 2022.



For all students assessment will be based on a written guided report or short dissertation (1/3) and a written examination (2/3).




WRITTEN EXAMINATION: Students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of primary texts and critical bibliography, their understanding of cultural and theoretical issues and their ability to analyse and contextualise extracts from literary texts. The quality of their written English will also be taken into account. 

GUIDED REPORT/DISSERTATION: Students are asked to write on a text/theme related to their reading list. They will be expected to show their ability to deploy their knowledge of themes/works/authors/critical theories studied in the course in analysing a literary text. Their ability to write in English will also be taken into account. Report/dissertation titles, instructions and deadlines for submission will be made available on aulaweb well before the Christmas holidays.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
25/01/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri
08/02/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri
05/06/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri
29/06/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri
14/09/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri
28/09/2023 08:45 GENOVA Scritto Appello per l'a.a. 2022-2023 Aula 15, Albergo dei Poveri


Attendance is strongly recommended. At the beginning of the course students will have to enrol on AulaWeb. Enrolment for exams is online on the University of Genova website.

This syllabus is valid till February 2024.

Students with learning disabilities/disorders (SLD) are warmly invited to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course for further information on their specific needs.