Spring 2012 not offered
The 18th century was long understood to be the Age of Reason, a time when the printing press and new sciences combined to roll back the clouds of superstition and religion. In recent years, however, the "myth" of the Enlightenment has come under attack, perhaps in recognition of the continuing importance of various forms of belief and "irrationality" in our own times. In this course we will ask a series of related questions: How might we explain the proliferation in the Enlightenment of various new forms of demonstrably nonrational cultural phenomena--magic shows, fashion, ghost stories, even the concept of "fiction" itself? On the other hand, why did experimental science--so rational to us--look so much like madness to 18th-century writers? More broadly, what forms of enchantment may be said to belong to modernity rather than the past?
Students will be writing regular short response papers and a longer research paper in which they will be asked to interpret the literary and theoretical texts we read in class.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, David Hume, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, Bruno Latour, Charles Taylor.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Several short papers, one research paper.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This class fulfills a Literary History II requirement for the English major.
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