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Literature and Politics in Nineteenth Century Britain
ENGL 307
Spring 2007 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.

Essential Capabilities: Ethical Reasoning, Writing
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on APR-13-2024
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