01:30 PM to 02:45 PM TR
Section Information for Spring 2021
The status of older literary works is an important and complicated issue in contemporary literary studies. One aspect of this concerns the changing shape of the canon (if there still is a canon of English literature) and, more generally, the question of which older literary works merit our attention: works that were popular or influential in their own era? works that have long received critical esteem? works that seem interesting in light of our contemporary concerns and interests? works that have been neglected and lost to history? Another aspect of this concerns the question of how we should approach these older works: contextualizing them in relation to their own original time and place? examining the changing reception history of the works over time? examining them in relation to our own present-day concerns and interests? The questions of which works to read and how to read them are interrelated and how we think about one question will influence how we think about the other (in both directions). This course will be concerned with exploring these questions and assessing the complications and implications of different answers to them. Our focus will be on British literature of the long 18th century (1660 to 1800): we'll look at the selections from the literature of this era that have been offered in various anthologies; we'll explore how the field of 18th-century literary studies has developed; we'll read discussions of "historicism" and "presentism" in relation to the study of older texts; we'll examine a couple of case studies; and I'll ask you to take up one literary work from the period in a research project of your own and examine it in relation to the issues we've been discussing, in order to explore some of the issues concretely and in greater depth.
ENGH 458 001 is a distance education section. Students must contact the instructor, Professor Yadav (firstname.lastname@example.org), for approval to register.