English | Literatures in English 1600-1800
E302 | 1883 | Gutjahr


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

OPEN TO MAJORS ONLY. DECLARED MINORS OBTAIN
AUTHORIZATION FROM BH402.

Whereas Darwinism took the world by storm at the end of the
nineteenth century as a way to interpret the workings of the world,
an earlier   and equally pervasive   attempt at such an all-
inclusive interpretation was the Great Chain of Being. The Great
Chain of Being argued that the world was ordered in a strictly
hierarchical fashion: God stood at the top of all things, while such
things as plant life were placed at the bottom. This course will
examine texts that participated in a dialogue with the idea of the
Great Chain of Being by exploring writers who, to varying
degrees, either accepted or fought against this notion of cosmic
ordering. We will begin with Milton's famous poem on God's
relationship to His creation and end with various notions of the
common man which circulated around the time of the American
Revolution. Along with frequent reading quizzes, there will be
both long and short papers. The readings will be intense and
diverse. Be prepared to work hard if you sign up for this class.

Texts may include:
Milton, PARADISE LOST
Shakespeare, HENRY V
Behn, OROONOKO
Defoe, MOLL FLANDERS
Gibbon, DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
Bailey, RELIGION AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Brown, WIELAND
Chesterfield, LETTERS TO MY SON
Paine, COMMON SENSE
And a course reading packet