English 45B

Literature in English: Late-17th Through Mid-19th Centuries

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2018 Turner, James Grantham
Lectures MW 12-1 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 201: F 10-11; sec. 202: F 12-1) Lectures: Note new room: 126 Barrows; disc. secs. in different locations

Book List

Austen, Jane: Sense and Sensibility; Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland; Etherege, George: The Man of Mode; Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass

Other Readings and Media

Most of our texts will be available on bCourses, in a downloadable anthology specially curated for this class


An introductory survey or “tasting menu” of writing in English from the last words of John Milton to the early poems of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. This period saw revolutions in England, America and France, civil war in the new United States, and strong movements for emancipation of women and slaves. Our chosen texts often raise provocative issues of gender, class and social justice. We will not pursue a single theme, however, but instead try to grasp the astonishing variety and creativity of literature as it evolves over two hundred years: Restoration libertinism and polished wit; eighteenth-century satire, sentiment and enlightenment; revolutionary fervor, romanticism and nature-worship; Victorian domesticity shot through with doubt; American optimism shot through with death and destruction. The choice of authors will be inclusive and diverse – male and female, rich and poor, English, Scots, Irish, African and American. As well as canonical poems, plays and novels we will read autobiographies and private diaries, the founding document of a nation (as Thomas Jefferson originally wrote it), religious visions by William Blake, and writing for children including Lewis Carroll’s Alice, “nonsense” of the most revealing kind.

Many of our authors express themselves in book-length autobiographies and epic novels (Robinson Crusoe, Clarissa, Tom Jones, Frankenstein, Old Mortality, Wuthering Heights, Bleak House, Moby Dick, Middlemarch …) and it would take years to read them properly. This lower-division course offers breadth rather than depth, so it will present sample extracts or single chapters from these great works; Dickens’s novels, for example, came out in magazines before they were published as complete books, and we will read one such instalment in the original format. The idea is to concentrate on the language and artistry, giving you a preview of works that you can go on to study in specialized upper-division classes.

Discussion Sections

201 Callender, Brandon
F 10-11 54 Barrows
202 Callender, Brandon
F 12-1 321 Haviland

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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