Traynor F Iii Hansen
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.
This class will begin with the great intellectual event of the 18th century—the Age of Enlightenment—and the great political event that developed out of it: the French Revolution. These two events and the ideas that emerged from them had a far-reaching impact on the intellectual and artistic scene in Britain. On the one hand, the Enlightenment thinkers foregrounded the primacy of reason and science over superstition and religion; on the other, repercussions from the French Revolution (and it's older cousin, the American Revolution) contributed to redefining the relationship between the individual and the nation.
Our reading will focus especially on the literary movement that came to be called Romanticism—a movement that in many ways provides the strongest and most immediate response to the ideas raised in the preceding centuries. We will approach Romanticism through the major poets of the period—Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats—and through other, less-famous writers that were equally involved in the artistic projects of Romanticism. We will also look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a novel that characterizes Romanticism's primary concerns even as it critiques them. We will end the quarter by reading Charles Dickens' Hard Times as a different sort of critique—one that deals with the aftermath of Romanticism's successes and failures.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The class will be a combination of lecture and discussion. You should expect to read a good deal of poetry, in addition to fiction and nonfiction prose. Please also expect a midterm and a final exam, a short paper (4-5 pp.), and a group presentation.
Class assignments and grading
Short response papers, one longer paper. Midterm and final. Group presentation. Poem memorization.