Joseph M Butwin
Introduces eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments of the period. Topics include: exploration, empire, colonialism, slavery, revolution, and nation-building. Offered: AWSp.
For AUTUMN 2007: Solitude and Society. As direct heirs of what has been called the “invention of liberty” in the 18th and 19th centuries, we have been obliged to learn new ways of maintaining our individuality in a community made up of millions of other free-wheeling individualists. One strategy, of course, is to go it alone in the style of the fictional Robinson Crusoe and the historical Henry David Thoreau. Another is to design large, well-populated states that require extraordinary coordination even as they try to insure the individual liberty of all members. In this course we will discuss efforts, imagined and real, to reconcile the benefits and liabilities of solitude and society. Lecture, discussion, short essays written in and out of class. Texts: The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence; Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections); Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (selections); R. W. Emerson, “Self-Reliance”; H.D. Thoreau, Walden; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.
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