English 246F

Graduate Pro-seminar: "The Later-Eighteenth Century


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2008 Goodman, Kevis
Goodman, Kevis
M 3:30-6:30 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Boswell, J.: The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides; Johnson, S.: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland; Sterne, L.: A Sentimental Journey; Burney, F.: Evelina; Walpole, H.: The Castle of Otranto; Burke, E.: A Philosophical Inquiry, Reflections on the Revolution in France; Smith, A.: Theory of Moral Sentiments; Hume, D.: Treatise of Human Nature; Blake, W.: Songs of Innocence and Experience; Wordsworth W. and Coleridge, S. T.: Lyrical Ballads; Williams, H.M.: Letters Written from France; Williams, R.: Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society . In addition, the following works will be either in a course reader or available on-line: selected poems of William Collins, Thomas Gray, Oliver Goldsmith, George Crabbe, William Cowper (The Task), Christopher Smart (Jubilitate Agno), Anna Barbauld, and Charlotte Smith; further prose works by Samuel Johnson (e.g., �Preface� to the Dictionary and to Shakespeare) and Edward Young (�Conjectures on Original Composition�); also an array of critical essays on the period.


This course offers a survey of the period from 1740 to 1800, or from Hume�s new �science of man� to Wordsworth�s account of poetry as the �history or science of feelings.� The many different titles that have affixed themselves to these years (Pre-Romantic, Post-Augustan, the Age of Johnson, the Culture of Sensibility) might testify to its excitements and eccentricities, its metamorphic riot of genres and authors. We will try to do justice to its heterogeneity, sampling all genres of poetry and prose, although�since there is a course on the eighteenth-century novel offered concurrently in the department�we can devote relatively more time to poetry and non-fictional prose. Threads that will receive particular attention include: the emergence of aesthetics as a new science; sensibility and inequity; skirmishes over the �common tongue� and the constitution of �the people�; changing definitions of literature (printed matter or creative writing?) and authorial identity (the author as producer, as �nobody,� as genius); residual and simulated oral culture in an age of print; the Scottish Enlightenment and the romance of the Highlands; Britain in international space and nostalgia for home; gothic and Revolution; likely and unlikely versions of pastoral. To some extent our concerns will be methodological as well: what sorts of critical approaches have shaped and reshaped this shifting field�and what kinds of study seem productive for its future?

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