Charles P Laporte
Survey of current issues confronting literary critics today, based on revolving themes and topics. Focuses on debates and developments affecting English language and literatures, including questions about: the relationship of culture and history; the effect of emergent technologies on literary study; the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
English 494: Literary Values and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Britain Course Description: This honors course focuses upon British literature from 1830-1900. In many ways, these years gave rise to modernity as we presently experience it, from the first appearance of modern vehicles (including trains, subways, and bicycles) to the first instantaneous electronic communication (the telegraph). These years also witnessed the birth of mass literacy and widespread new discussions of women's rights, worker's rights, children's rights, and animal rights. Not coincidentally, ideas of literary value evolved dramatically during this period: women gained unprecedented positions in the literary world, the novel first received credit as a legitimate art form, and folk art (from crafts to fairy tales) attained a new cultural value. This course will address both how literature reflects social change and how it helps to create it. Students should look forward to studying a variety of genres: novels, essays, poetry, visual arts. Course expectations will include two short papers and a group presentation.
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