This course will
focus on three corresponding major periods in the canon of British and American
literary history–Restoration/Eighteenth-Century, British and American
Romanticism, and Nineteenth-Century British Victorian/American Realism–by
looking at representative literature by major authors of each period.
works we will study have been chosen because they best articulate the philosophy
characterizing the literature of each period, with a view to examining how
authors writing in the same historical framework both mirror and depart
philosophically one from another. We
will also compare and contrast the literary periods themselves, how they
position themselves culturally, historically, and politically, paying
particular attention to the ways in which each period emerged as a reaction against the period before.
reading load in this course is so heavy and the breadth of material so wide,
there are no outside papers required for this course. Instead, following the study of each of the
three literary periods there will be a major examination in two parts. One part will be IDENTIFICATION, which
primarily involves the students responding in paragraph form to selected
passages from the reading, and the second will be ESSAY where students will
bring in works of their own choosing from the material studied in response to a
comprehensive question about the period.