English 165

Special Topics: Enlightenment & Romance: Scotland in the 18th Century


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2020 Duncan, Ian
MWF 10-11 124 Wheeler

Book List

Burns, Robert: Selected Poems; Hogg, James: Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Hume, David: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; Johnson, Samuel: Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland; Scott, Walter: Redgauntlet: A Tale of the Eighteenth Century; Smollett, Tobias: The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

Other Readings and Media

Selections from Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, Hugh Blair, Robert Fergusson, James Macpherson, Dorothy Wordsworth (etc.) to be made available in a course reader.

Description

Eighteenth-century Scotland was home both to the so-called Scottish Enlightenment, one of the advanced civil societies in the Atlantic world, and to the beginnings of the global movement of taste and feeling later to be called Romanticism. Here were invented signature discourses of the modern human sciences (sociological history, anthropology, political economy) as well as literary forms of ancient indigenous epic, the poetry of popular life, and the historical novel. If Scotland, on the one hand, “invented the modern world,” it also became, on the other, a haunted landscape in the symbolic geography of Romanticism—a site of lost worlds of tradition and allegiance: an imaginary role it still holds today (although debates around the 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence opted for an enlightened, civic conception of the modern nation rather than appealing to Romantic nostalgia). Our course will consider the production of Scotland and its world horizons by Scottish writers and institutions as well as its consumption in tourist itineraries and media fantasies, and its problematical legacies in neoliberal economics and nationalist ideology. We will read selections from some key works of Enlightenment moral philosophy and history alongside Scottish innovations in poetry and fiction (Macpherson's "Poems of Ossian"; Burns and the vernacular poetry revival; Romantic historical fiction).

Readings will include: David Hume, An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding; Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments; Adam Ferguson, Essay on the History of Civil Society; James Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry and Fingal; Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns, selected poems; Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker; Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and James Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides; Dorothy Wordsworth, Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland; Walter Scott, Redgauntlet; James Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. [NB: Coursebooks will be ordered from University Press Books, on Bancroft Ave.)

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

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020

165/1

Special Topics: Traditions of Mourning and the Representation of the Holocaust

165/3

Special Topics: On Lies, Lying, and Post-Truths--A Reading- and Writing-Intensive Investigation

Nadaff, Ramona

165/4

Special Topics: Family Histories from the Margins

fall, 2019

165/1

Special Topics: Utopian and (mostly) Dystopian Movies

165/2

Special Topics: The Pleasures of Allegory

spring, 2019

165/1

Special Topics: Global Tudors

Honig, Elizabeth

165/2

Special Topics: 21st-Century U. S. Poetry

165/3

Special Topics: John Milton's Last Poems

165/4

Special Topics: The Art of Writing: The Visible Made Verbal

165/5

Special Topics: Note: See English 165 section 6

165/6

Special Topics: Nabokov and Naipaul

165/7

Special Topics: The Materialist Epic

165/8

Special Topics: American Humor

165/9

Special Topics: The 1890s

fall, 2018

165/1

Special Topics: Oscar Wilde and the Nineteenth Century

165/2

Special Topics: The English Department

165/3

Special Topics: Literature and Media Theory

165/4

Special Topics: The Ecology of Utopia

165/5

Special Topics: Reading Walden With Care

165/6

Special Topics: Hardly Strictly Lyric Poems

165/7

Special Topics: Utopian and (mostly) Dystopian Movies

spring, 2018

165/1

Special Topics: H.P. Lovecraft in His Tradition

165/2

Special Topics: Handel's Art in Setting English Words to Music

165/3

Special Topics: Is It Useless To Revolt?

165/4

Special Topics: Neo-Slave Narratives

165/5

Special Topics: Incarcerations: The Literature of (Physical, Mental, Spiritual) Imprisonment

fall, 2017

165/1

Special Topics: Genres of Free Speech

165/2

Special Topics: Art of Writing

spring, 2017

165/1

Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir

165/2

Special Topics: Incarcerations: The Literatures of Physical Confinement and Spiritual Liberation


Back to Semester List