English | Literatures in English 1800-1900
E303 | 2202 | Marsh

E303 2202 MARSH
Literatures in English, 1800-1900

5:45p-7:00p TR (30) 3 CR.

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, in Britain, the century witnessed both the apogee of
Imperial dominance and industrial power and the world’s first and
most resonating eruptions of urban squalor and scientific
disturbance, along with continuing gender tyranny and religious
doubt.  This course weaves back and forth between the two countries
(with some attention to Australia) to explore such major themes as:
super-nature and the sublime self in the Romantic Revolution;
American self-making and the abyss of race; sex, class, and British
identity; democracy and individualism; the city, the machine, and
the coming of mass entertainment; landscape, nature, and destiny in
the myth of the American West; faith, doubt, and Victorian
uncertainty; and dark history and Imperial gothic at the
transatlantic fin de siècle.  Our texts include complete novels by
Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Charles Dickens (Hard Times), Mark
Twain (Roughing It), 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 selections from Francis Parkman’s unique travelogue The Oregon
Trail, as well as poems, stories, or substantial extracts from prose
works by: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Thomas
Carlyle, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson, Bret Harte, Browning,
Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and E.A. Poe.  Classes will alternate
between formal lectures (some multi-media) and open discussion—to
which end every class member is required to post a discussion
question to the class e-mail list every week.  Two mid-terms (short
questions and passage for analysis); two papers (one short, one
long); a cumulative final exam (short questions, passage,
comparative essay).