Selected texts from the late 18th century to the present. Explores periodization, genre, key terms and concepts through close reading and critical analysis. Fulfills major requirements; open to non-majors.
Open to Degree and CDE students
This course will focus on the development of modern literature in the British Isles from the Age of Revolution to the present. Our aim will be both to gain familiarity with, and understanding of, major and exemplary poems, novels, and plays from the period and also to get a feel for the trajectory through which modern literature increasingly explores the inner psychological territory opened up as literary subject matter by the major Romantic poets (e.g., Wordsworth's declaration that the human mind—not nature!—was "the haunt and the main region of my song"). We will also be attentive to the ways writers responded to pressing social and political issues: from the democratic revolutions of the late eighteenth-century to the enormous dislocations of the lives of ordinary people in the course of the industrial revolution; from slavery and racism to colonialism and the rise of commodity capitalism; from the Victorian crisis of faith to the High Modernists’ struggle to give “a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history” (as T. S. Eliot put the matter in 1923 in language that might apply as aptly to today’s world as to his); and from ongoing struggles to overcome historic burdens of oppression (along vectors of class, race, gender, and colonization) to new understandings of what it means to be human in the context of evolving scientific and social scientific knowledge and theory. Authors we will read include Robert Burns, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Smith, Jane Austen, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rosetti, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Mathew Arnold, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, W. H. Auden, Philip Larkin, and Zadie Smith.
Students will be expected to attend class and to complete all readings and assignments. Participation, especially through Blackboard activities--journals and a discussion board--is mandatory.
There will be mid-term and final examinations, occasional reading quizzes, required journals, and a single paper of 1,000 to 1,500 words explicating an assigned text. Relative weight of factors determining the final grade: mid-term exam, 25%; final exam, 30%; participation (including journals and discussion board participation), 25%; one short paper, 20%.
L/L Commons 315 (View Campus Map)
to on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
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