ENGH 642: Seminar in British Literature

ENGH 642-001: Seminar in British Literature
(Spring 2023)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM T

Hanover Hall L002

View in the schedule of classes

Section Information for Spring 2023

Romanticism and its Futures

Though the Romantic era in Britain is usually defined as running from roughly 1780 to 1830, the cultural developments of the period were of such significance and influence that many argue we are still living in a “Romantic age.” Amid revolutions abroad, social unrest at home, massive technological and economic shifts, and new languages of rights and freedoms, it was possible for some writers to dream of a world transformed or re-made, to dream of realizing a radical new vision of human relations. Other writers, or the same writers in other moods, saw a breaking or broken world and imagined modes of repair. In this course, we will read an array of Romantic-era writers in a variety of genres — mostly poetry and fiction, but also polemical writing, autobiography, journal writing, and philosophy — with a focus on how writing confronted or imagined new social possibilities, and how writers envisioned restoring or transforming human (and nonhuman) worlds. How did Romantic-era writers think about futurity? We will devote significant attention to some of the writers of the period who are best known today, including the poets William Blake, S. T. Coleridge, P.B. Shelley, and John Keats, as well as the novelist Jane Austen and the feminist novelist and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, but our reading will range widely, and with a global view — so some of our readings from the period will come from outside Britain, definitely including the writing and events connected to the contemporaneous Haitian Revolution, possibly including writing from Germany, France, or India. We’ll look at some specific projects for social transformation or experiments in living differently, but we’ll also consider more broadly debates around gender and sexuality; ecological thought and environmental awareness; race and slavery in the Atlantic world; science and experiment; empire and colonialism; ideas of equality, community and freedom; conceptions of imagination and dream; prophecy and agitation; figurations of history and progress; the notion of “care;” and concepts of revolution. The course presumes no prior knowledge of the period’s literature and you will be fine if you don’t feel you have a strong background in poetry, though of course it will also work well for those who do bring such backgrounds. Along with some critical and theoretical texts, we will supplement some of our readings with some more recent poetry and essays in dialogue with Romantic-era writing.

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Intensive study of a selected period, movement, or genre in British or world Anglophone literature. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 24 credits.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Junior Plus, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.