Catalog Description: Focuses on British literature from 1660 through the mid-20th century. Centers on a particular theme of the instructor’s choosing and investigates how this theme interacts with the historical events and literary trends of the period.

Course Description

A typical catalog description similar to our course would read: A continuation of the study of English literature from the late 18th century to the present day, that is, from the Romantic period, continuing to Victorian, and Modernist literature. The literature will be studied within its intellectual, social, and historical contexts. In a typical semester, students might read the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley; the fiction of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens; the poetry of Browning, Tennyson, Auden, T.S. Eliot, Yeats, and Hopkins; the drama of Shaw and Becket, and fiction of Joyce and Woolf. While you will see many of these names on our syllabus, we will be doing something a little bit different.

Our ‘current’ for the semester will be “Literary/Histories.” Not only will we be examining and critiquing the history and formation of the literary canon, but we will also be exploring and utilizing the methodology of New Historicism as a means to understand the mutually informing discourses of literature, history, and culture. We will be contemporizing that literary history through a ‘digital humanities’ approach in our assessments which will ask us to rethink literary history through new media applications. Please note, we have a LOT to cover in this class—over 450 years of literature in fifteen weeks—so we will often read more than we have time to discuss in class. My goal is for you to gain a broad understanding of the history of British literature and the periodization, concepts, aesthetic developments, and cultural influences over the past 450 years.

Course Goals

  • To understand British literature texts in their cultural and historical contexts
  • To develop critical and creative analytical practices
  • To write about texts with depth and clarity
  • To employ research skills in writing about literature and/or film

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