Literatures in English 1800 to 1900

11:15a-12:05p MWF (30) 3 cr.

The period from the American and French Revolutions (1776, 1789) down to World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917 witnessed many "revolutions." These include political revolutions as in America, France, and Russia, but also economic revolutions (especially the first so-called Industrial Revolution) and social revolutions (the abolition of slavery in the U.S. and elsewhere; struggles for workers' and women's rights). Publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859, moreover, exemplifies the ongoing "revolution" in the sciences.

These social and intellectual upheavals were reflected in various ways in literature: the Romantic "revolution" in poetry; the first stirrings of modern feminism; the beginnings of African- American poetry, fiction, and drama; industrial and working-class "protest" literature; and new literatures in English, including the first stirrings of nationalist and independence movements, in Canada, Australia, India, and South Africa.

This version of E303 will focus on how literatures in English, primarily from Britain and the U.S., reflected the revolutions of the nineteenth century. We will sample Romantic and Victorian poetry (Blake, Wordsworth, Tennyson); American poetry (Dickinson, Whitman); women's rights issues (Wollstonecraft, Fuller, George Eliot); slave narratives and early African-American literature (e.g., Frederick Douglass's Narrative); the Industrial Revolution as reflected in at least one novel (probably Charles Dickens's Hard Times); and the scientific revolution (selections from Darwin; perhaps H. G. Wells's The Time Machine).

There will be several short (2-page) papers, plus a final paper (8- 10 pages). The final papers will focus on the ways a specific work of literature reflects or expresses one of the "revolutions" that occurred or was occurring in the nineteenth century. There will also be three or four short-answer quizzes. 50 per cent of the final grade will be based on the papers; 40 per cent on the quizzes; and 10 per cent on attendance and participation.