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Enlightenment, Sensibility, Romanticism

ENGL 049.001
instructor(s):
MW 6-7:30

The years 1745 and 1848 in Europe, America, and the Caribbean delineate a period of unprecedented outward movement on a mass scale: political radicalism and revolutions, global imperial expansion, industrialism and scientific innovation. At the same time, artists, writers, and thinkers looked inward to the thoughts and passions of individuals, and came to value the individual imagination, as they never had before. This course, therefore, will explore the degree to which the focus on interiority marked a retreat from the concerns of the world or a fuller, imaginative engagement with them. The first readings, philosophical and aesthetic texts that situate individual cognitions, sensations, and emotions at the center of cultural life, will include the work of thinkers such as Edmund Burke, David Hume, and Adam Smith. Then, the course will interrogate the emphasis on interiority and the individual imagination in the literature of the period. Readings may include poems by Anna Laetitia Barbauld, William Blake, Samuel Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Phillis Wheatley, and William Wordsworth; novels by Frances Burney, Henry Mackenzie, Laurence Sterne, and Horace Walpole; and personal and critical essays by Samuel Johnson, Thomas De Quincey, Olaudah Equinao, and Benjamin Franklin. Active participation is required, along with several short essays, short response papers and in-class presentations, and a final exam.