Literature and Politics in Nineteenth Century Britain|
Fall 2006 not offered
This course examines the interaction between politics and literature in England over the course of the 19th century, focusing on issues of class, gender, and nation. The poetry, novels, and prose we will study all sought to educate their readers, to change their minds, and to spark political action. The course explores the ways in which these didactic goals coalesced and conflicted with other literary concerns, thereby connecting issues of politics with those of aesthetics.
At the root of the texts we will explore lies the desire to expose injustice, whether in the form of economic exploitation, political disenfranchisement, or parliamentary corruption. The texts perform this exposure in different ways. Poems such as Shelley's "The Mask of Anarchy" and Davenport's "Legitimacy Unmasked" unmask injustice through vivid imagery, allegorical narratives, and philosophical argument, while novels such as Gaskell's NORTH AND SOUTH use the geographical and class mobility of their heroes to expose the struggles of the working class. Morris's NEWS FROM NOWHERE and Carlyle's PAST AND PRESENT, on the other hand, expose the injustices of the contemporary world through portraits of utopian pasts and futures. We will explore all of these techniques-and many others-over the course of the semester.
Ethical Reasoning, Speaking
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|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Blake, Shelley, Scott, Disraeli, Gaskell, Trollope, Morris, working-class and women writers.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Two short papers, two in-class presentations, final paper.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the English department's historical knowledge requirements.
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