About ENGL 1114 A

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 PACE students

Section Description

Our attention is devoted in this course to a broad and necessarily highly selective overview of the development of modern literature in the British Isles from the Age of Revolution to the present. Authors we will read include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rosetti, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Mathew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, and Philip Larkin. The literature of the British Isles over the course of the last 240 years both reflects and participates in the political, economic, scientific, and intellectual revolutions that have marked the emergence of the modern world. The period saw, among many other striking developments, quantum leaps forward in science and technology; epic global wars, from Great Britain’s protracted struggle with Napoleonic France to the two catastrophic world wars of the last century; the rise and fall of the British Empire, from its apogee in the second decade of the twentieth century (when King George V held sway over a quarter of the world’s population and of its land surface area) to its rapid decline in the aftermath of World War II; the abolition of slavery in the Empire; the crisis of religious faith that consumed the Victorians and many of the High Modernists of the early twentieth-century as well; increasing access to education and a huge growth in literacy, with more and more people able to read literary works; the extension of the vote through a series of political reform acts, culminating in the enfranchisement of women in 1918 (for women over 30, expanded to all women over age 21 in 1928); the passage of child labor laws; and a dramatic increase in life expectancy. All of this—and much more of note—unfolded in the course of three human lifespans of 79 years laid end to end (2023 – 237 = 1786, the year Robert Burns published Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect). In literature, these roughly two and a half centuries saw, in the Romantic Period (1776 to 1832), the most dazzling cluster of poets of genius since the Elizabethan age; in the Victorian Age (1830-1901) the rise of the novel, which eclipsed poetry as the dominant mode of literary production and consumption; and in the twentieth century, the increasing complexity of both poetry and fiction as the project of exploring the inner workings of consciousness inaugurated by poets like Wordsworth (who had declared “the Mind of Man” to be “The haunt, and the main region of my song”) intensified in the age of Sigmund Freud (who published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899), playing out in the interiority that characterizes such landmarks of High Modernism as T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Waste Land” and the novels of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Our aim in this course will be first and foremost to read with understanding and appreciation a small selection of literary works that exemplify the evolution of British literature during this period of accelerating and sweeping transformation of human life. We will privilege quality over quantity, focusing on close reading of a limited number of works, and most class periods will be devoted to discussion, punctuated by mini-lectures when necessary.

Section Expectation

Regular class attendance and completion of all reading assignments are expected and required. There will be mid-term and final examinations, six reading quizzes, three short reading response assignments (400 to 600 words each), and a single short paper (1,000 to 1,200 words).


Relative weight of factors determining the final grade: mid-term exam, 20%; final exam, 25%; reading quizzes, 15%; reading response assignments, 20%; short paper, 20%.

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
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Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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Interest Form

ENGL 1114 A is closed to new enrollment.

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