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Britons and Other Life Forms

CHUM 304
Fall 2018 not offered
Crosslisting: ENGL 307
Course Cluster: Urban Studies

George Eliot wrote in Middlemarch that "if we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence." This course will require us to think about the various ways in which writers conceive of and represent precisely our potential--or, as Eliot suggests, our inability--to comprehend "all" life, or even just "other" life forms. We will consider literary approaches to relationality, with an emphasis on 19th-century British literature: How do these writers envision the connections between individuals and organisms, and how do they conceive of intimacies, environments, and totalities? To what extent do they imagine themselves as able to represent those connections? And how to these understandings impact literary form and political understanding? We will focus on formal questions, such as those of protagonist and minor character, poetic "I" and listener, as well as on two major forces of 19th-century culture: an emergent social theory that tried to conceive of humanity in terms of communities, populations, and "social bodies," and an increasingly prominent science that was starting to think in terms of environments and ecologies (it's worth noting that the terms "environment" and "ecology" are 19th-century in origin).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUN-12-2024
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