English 166

Special Topics: Scotland and Romanticism


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2011 Duncan, Ian
Duncan, Ian
TTh 11-12:30 200 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Burns, R.: Selected Poems; Smollett, T.: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker; Scott, W.: Rob Roy; Scott, W.: The Bride of Lammermoor; Hogg, J.: Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Johnson & Boswell, S. & J.: A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland / Journal of a Tour; Stevenson, R.L.: The Master of Ballantrae and Weir of Hermiston

Description

Between 1760 and 1830 Scotland was one of the centers of the European-North Atlantic "Republic of Letters." Here were invented the signature forms and discourses of the "Enlightenment" and "Romanticism" (terms for cultural movements and historical periods that were invented later): social history, anthropology, political economy, the indigenous epic, the poetry of popular life, the historical novel. Scotland also became a notable place within the symbolic geography of Romanticism -- a site of lost worlds of tradition and allegiance, of ghosts and heroes -- an imaginary role it still holds today. Our course will consider the production of Romanticism by Scottish writers and institutions as well as its consumption in tourist itineraries and literary fantasies. We will discuss the problem that Scotland poses for the definition of Romanticism: on one hand, it is the original Romantic nation, and on the other (according to the critical orthodoxy of the past sixty years) the locus of an untimely or inauthentic Romanticism. We will read works from the key Scottish innovations in poetry and fiction (James Macpherson's "Poems of Ossian"; Robert Burns and the vernacular poetry revival; Walter Scott, James Hogg, and historical fiction); consider the versions of Scotland discovered (and constructed) by English literary visitors (Samuel Johnson, William and Dorothy Wordsworth); and we'll look at some later revisitations of Scottish Romanticism, in Victorian and contemporary literature and film.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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