Innovation Hall 316
Section Information for Fall 2017
The city is both a place and idea – or, rather, a bundle of wildly conflicting ideas. London dominates the literary imagination of 18th and 19th-century Britain, as it dominated the country’s political and economic life. For James Boswell, escaping from tradition-bound Scotland at twenty-two, London was a dream of freedom: “I have discovered that we may be in some degree whatever character we choose,” he wrote with glee. For William Wordsworth, London was a perverted nightmare, although a nightmare that contained “Promethean thoughts.” The city assaulted all his senses, as well as his sense of propriety. It drew together
All out-o'-the-way, far-fetched, perverted things,
All freaks of nature, all Promethean thoughts
Of man, his dulness, madness, and their feats
All jumbled up together, to compose
A Parliament of Monsters.
For Charles Dickens, London was the greatest of all his novels’ great characters, more alive, more dangerous, and more wonderful than any single human could be. In opposing cosmopolitan change and rural traditions, the rhetoric of the 2016 US Presidential election drew on this rich history of organizing values, ideals, and identity by geography. This course will critically examine the power of this way of thinking through studying 18th and 19th century urban history, poetry, drama, and literature. Work will include frequent short written responses to the readings, an in-class presentation, a short essay, and a final research project.
Satisfies the English BA requirement for the concentration in fiction.
Satisfies the English BA core requirement in literature before 1915.
Satisfies the English BA requirement for the concentration in literature.
ENGH 400 001 is open to students in English Honors. Please contact Professor Samuelian (firstname.lastname@example.org) for permission to register.