Michael Gamer <mgamer@english>

Class meets: W 9-12, 219 Bennett Hall

Office: 203 Bennett Hall

Phone: 898-7346

Office Hours: Wed. and by appt.

 

 

English 551.301: British Literature, 1770-1800

 

Course Description: (Glamorously titled, this course comprises the first half of the introductory graduate curriculum in Romantic writing. Stuart Curran will teach the second half (English 552: British Literature 1800-1830) in the Fall of 2002.) We'll read writers that for decades were grouped under such rubrics as "The Age of Sensibility" (as if sentimentality then ended), "The age of Johnson" (as if the age could be represented by one man), and "Preromanticism" (as if writers could anticipate a movement not yet begun). In jettisoning such terms, one of the challenges facing cultural historians of these decades has been how to reconfigure its texts in ways that acknowledge the incredibly diverse and experimental nature of its writing. In addition to reading primary texts across an array of genres, therefore, we'll also discuss the issues of periodization, authorship, and canon formation raised by them.

 

Books: Are at Penn Book Center, on the corner of 34th and Sansom. Phone # is (215) 222-7600.

Frances Burney, *Evelina*, ed. Susan Kublica Howard (Broadview, 2000). ISBN 1-55111-237-x

Henry Mackenzie, *The Man of Feeling* (Norton). ISBN 0-393-00214-4

Tobias Smollett, *The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker* (Oxford UP).

R. Murfin and S. Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. ISBN 0-312-11560-1.

A Guide to MLA Documentation Style. Ed. J. Trimmer. (NY: Houghton Mifflin) ISBN 0-395-93851-1.

 

Coursepack: We will circulate this privately among ourselves.

 

 

Course Calendar, Weeks 1-6.

 

Sept 12: Sensibility: Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling; Hannah More, "Sensibility"; Helen Maria Williams, "To Sensibility"; Anna Laetitia Aikin (later Barbauld), "On the Pleasure Derived from Observing Objects of Distress" (1773).

 

Sept 19: Poetry and Community: Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village (1770), Anna Laetitia Aikin (later Barbauld), selections from Poems (1773), George Crabbe, The Village (1784; selections). Also: A Historical Sketch of Warrington Academy (1859).

 

Sept 26: Tobias Smollett, Humphrey Clinker, (1773).

 

Oct 3: Drama: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal (1776), Hannah Cowley, A Bold Stroke for a Husband (1783), and Elizabeth Inchbald, Every One Has His Fault.

 

Oct 10: Frances Burney, Evelina (1778).

 

Oct 17: Newspaper Poetry, Sensibility, and the Self-Consuming Artifact: The Della Cruscans and Mary Robinson.

 

Course Calendar, Weeks 7-13:

 

As for one week of the semester you'll be presenting the reading (undergraduates may team up) and leading discussion, you can do one of two things: either 1) choose one of the first six weeks, presenting and leading discussion on those texts, or 2) choose one of the last seven weeks. For the latter, you'll be choosing the reading, presenting on it, and leading discussion (more on this below). We need to fill the following dates: Oct 24, 31; Nov 7, 14, 21, 28; and Dec 5.

 

Here are possible readings, but you should by all means do what interests you. They are ordered (roughly) chronologically rather than in any order of preference.

 

1. Writings on the American Revolution: Possible readings: excerpts from Helen Braithwaite's forthcoming book on publisher Joseph Johnson, Burke's speech on the colonies, Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776), Blake's America: A Prophecy (1794), Robert Bage's Hermsprong (1796) and Mary Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman; or, Maria (1798), and others.

 

2. The Sonnet: Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Sonnets (1784), William Lisle Bowles, Fourteen Sonnets (1789); Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth, selected sonnets.

 

3. Writings on Slavery: Elizabeth Inchbald, Such Things Are (1788); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), and other readings.

 

4. The French Revolution and its Aftermath: Burke, Paine, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Barbauld.

 

5. Early Blake: Perhaps read either of the following groupings: (1) The Book of Thel (1788), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), and America: A Prophecy); or (2) Songs of Innocence (1788), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), and Songs of Experience (1794).

 

6. Feminisms: Selections from Blake, Hays, Wollstonecraft, Robinson, Edgeworth, More, etc.

 

7. Jacobin Novels: select from the following: William Godwin, Things as They Are: Or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794); Robert Bage, Hermsprong; Or, Man as He Is Not (1796); or Mary Hays, Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796).

 

8. Gothic fiction: Choose from Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story (1791) Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest (1791) or The Italian (1797); Matthew Lewis, The Monk (1796); Mary Wollstonecraft, The Wrong of Woman; Or, Maria (1798).

 

9. Prophetic and Apocalyptic Writing in the 1790s: William Blake, America: A Prophecy (1793) or Europe: A Prophecy (1794); William Wordsworth, Adventures on Salisbury Plain (1795); Samuel Coleridge, The Destiny of Nations (1796).

 

10. Writing on Education: Father Gregory, Priscilla Wakefield, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgeworth.

 

11. The Threat of German Drama: Friedrich Schiller, The Robbers (translated Alexander Tytler, 1792); Samuel Coleridge, To the Author of the Robbers; Elizabeth Inchbald, Lovers' Vows (1798).

 

12. Reviving the Ode: Samuel Coleridge, "The Eolian Harp," "Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement," "This Lime Tree Bower My Prison," "The Nightingale," "Fears in Solitude," "France: An Ode," and "Frost at Midnight"; William Wordsworth, "Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798."

 

13. The Ballad Revival: Selections from Hannah More, Cheap Repository Tracts (1795); Robert Southey, Poems (1797); Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth, selections from Lyrical Ballads (1798) and Lyrical Ballads, volume two (1800), Mary Robinson, Lyrical Tales (1800).

 

14. The Second Coming of Shakespeare: Joanna Baillie, Plays on the Passions (1798).

 

15. The Irish Union: Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent (1800) and other documents.

 

(If these do not appeal, see me about choosing your own).

 

 

Computer Information:

 

Homepage: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer. All of the items below are available via this homepage.

Syllabus: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Teaching.

Electronic Resources: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Lit/ and http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Romantic (for 1780-1830). You'll especially find sites like "The Romantic Chronology," "British Women Writers," and "Romantic Circles" useful.

OED (Oxford English Dictionary) available via Library Homepage, under "Reference."

Literature Online available via Library Homepage, under "Databases." A full-text database of on-line texts, and very useful for research.

MLA Bibliography (Modern Language Association) available via Library Homepage, under "Databases."

ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue) available via Library Homepage, under "Library Catalogues."

RLIN (Research Libraries Network) available via Library Homepage, under "Library Catalogues."

 

Assignments:

 

Four Responses: Part of the preparation for our meetings will be for you (1) to write a response to the readings four times during the semester that you will send to the e-mail address gamer550-301@dept.english.upenn.edu; or (2) to be prepared at the opening of class to respond to the responses. In other words, you'll need to write four responses during the semester; during other weeks, you should read through the responses and write up an informal paragraph for yourself (in which you focus on the issues raised, or the questions posed, by one or more of the respondents as a way of beginning the discussion). When seminar participants begin presenting and leading discussion, they will provide a prospectus a week in advance designed to raise questions and otherwise set up discussion; those wishing to write responses should use that abstract (as well as the readings) as a springboard for their responses.

Each week I'll thread the responses to www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Teaching/551. So, please do NOT send responses as attachments; send them plain text cut-and-pasted into telnet or into your web-based program. If possible, use plain quotation marks and apostrophes rather than "smart quotes."
The responses will be due on Monday, by noon, beginning on September 24 (week three). The other seminar participants should bring their short paragraphs and notes to class. I'll usually start either the first or second half of class by asking non-responders where they would like to focus the beginnings of discussion. You will also find, if you look on your e-mail before you compose your response, that many times the responses of your colleagues will prove to be as much a catalyst to your own writing as the reading itself. Before class on Wednesday, then, you will be required to read through the responses, and to print them up and bring them in. (I will usually thread the responses so that you can print them from the web).

So, the rhythm of the seminar (hopefully) will go as follows:

1. By Monday at noon, we'll post responses.

2. Between Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning, we'll all read the responses and prepare for class.

3. On Wednesday morning, we'll meet.

 

Choosing the focus of your Presentation: At least two weeks before you present, you should meet with me to talk about what you'd like to do -- particularly what readings (and especially how much reading) -- for your presentation. We'll need to talk about ordering enough books, or otherwise coursepacking your materials. You might want to think of this as the beginning of your graduate teaching career, since you'll effectively be choosing the readings and otherwise shaping a week of the seminar. Obviously, I'll provide as much help as you need. NOTE: Undergraduate participants will be pairing up for this assignment, and so we'll need to coordinate the pairs, materials, timing, etc.

 

The prospectus for you presentation: The week before you present, you should come to class with copies of a prospectus, the purpose of which is to provide guidelines for what you'll be doing in your presentation. You should keep this under 500 words, and keep in mind that its purpose is to direct our reading and to provide us with some questions to consider while we read. NOTE: Undergraduate participants should provide a joint document.

 

The Presentation: For one of the class meetings, you'll be doing a short (no more than 20 minutes -- be warned I will cut you off) presentation setting up discussion and describing your own interests, ideas, and arguments about the readings. Two notes: First, undergraduate participants should take special care to stay under 20 minutes -- which is very difficult when there's two people; second, you may wish to shape your presentation in part along the guidelines of the Presentation Write-up (see below).

 

The Presentation Write-up and Annotated Bibliography: This is not a write up of your presentation literally. Instead, I'd like you to choose one of your major texts and research its 1) production history, 2) reception history, and 3) critical history. Having researched these, I'd like you to decide which of the three interests you the most. Once you've made this decision, you can write up the assignment.

For the least interesting two histories, I'd like you to write up a short narrative regarding each of them which can be anywhere from 10 to 500 words, followed by a bibliography. The length of these should depend entirely on how much there is to say. For example, in the case of the production history of Cowley's A Bold Stroke for a Husband (1783), there are some items of interest. On one hand, we have no manuscripts in Cowley's hand, although there is a fair-copy of the play that was submitted to the Lord Chamberlain's Office by the manager of Covent-Garden theater for approval, now located in the Huntington Library in the Larpent Collection (LA #617). The Huntington Larpent Catalogue notes that, when compared to the play's first edition of 1784, the manuscript shows considerable portions of the play cut for stage production. But that's about all there is to say. Later editions of the play show now real changes or revisions. On the other hand, The London Stage provides us with considerable detail about each night of A Bold Stroke's initial run, including total receipts, etc. Thus, in writing up the production history, you could probably do so in fewer than 300 words.

For the most interesting of the three histories, however, I'd like you to write a more extended essay (approximately 4-6 pages), in which you make a case for why this particular aspect of the text is most interesting. What questions does it raise and why? What would answering these questions illuminate? What questions do you wish to ask, and what are you answers. Finally, instead of a bibliography, I would like you to provide an annotated bibliography of the section, consisting of no more than 12 entries, with each entry being no more than 200 words.

 

The Final Paper: Rather than having you write an article-length essay of 25 or more pages, I am instead assigning a conference paper of no more than 2500 words. We'll share our work, furthermore, in a celebratory manner: in the form of a proper conference at the end of the semester, held on December 12. Your paper titles, and a 1-2 page abstract, are due on December 5. I will attempt, as far as I am able, to organize them into panels for our conference. If you would like to organize your own panels of three papers, I absolutely welcome and encourage you to do so. As conference papers are usually abbreviated or skeletal versions of an article, you should expect this final assignment to require significant research and your utmost care in the formulating of its argument. For your abstract and for your paper, I plan to make practical suggestions regarding the various problems of professionalization ("How does one write an abstract?"), as well as responding to your formulations and arguments with an eye toward how to revise your paper into an article.