E303 2082 MARSH
Literatures in English 1800-1900

1:00p-2:15p MW (30) 3 cr. Note day change

The American nineteenth century was an era of Westward expansion, high idealism, and national coming-to-consciousness, in the joint contexts of rampant racism and triumphant materialism. Across the Atlantic, the century witnessed both the apogee of British Imperial and industrial power and world's first and most resonating eruptions of urban squalor, religious doubt, and scientific disturbance. This course will weave back and forth between the two countries to explore such major themes as: nature, self, and the sublime in the Romantic Revolution; American self-making and the abyss of race; sex, class, and British identity; democracy, individualism, and “self-reliance”; the city, the machine, and the birth of the economic and statistical man; landscape, nature, and destiny; national mythologies; faith, doubt, and Victorian uncertainty; science/evolution and fantasy/horror; and Imperial gothic at the “fin de sieclé”.

Our texts include complete novels by Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre ), Charles Dickens (Hard Times ), Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ), and Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness ), together with the autobiographical Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and substantial sections of Francis Parkman's travelogue The Oregon Trail , as well as poems, stories, and philosophical and “prophetic” essays by (amongst others): Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson, Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, G.M. Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Classes will alternate between formal lectures and open discussion-- to which end, every class member is required to post a question or comment to the class e-mail list every week. Three papers, one short, one long, one medium, papers (one short, one long); cumulative final exam (short questions, passage for analysis, comparative essay).