European Studies


British Studies

Spring Quarter (S18)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor
Emphasis/Category: British Studies

This course will survey literary (and cinematic) approaches to the idea of “discovery” from 16th century exploration narratives, through
Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” to 20th century Science Fiction movies. We will think about “discovery” in a variety of ways, including the “discovery” of new lands, scientific breakthroughs (Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine”) and, always, the discovery of the self and new self-understandings. We will think about literature itself as a mode of “discovery” and think about the ways different literary forms and modes (fiction, poetry and drama) structure the kinds of discoveries they allow us to make.
Days: TU TH  08:00-09:20 AM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

This course explores English Renaissance literature with a particular focus on the cultural, political, and religious transformations of the 16th and 17th centuries.  We will cover a range of genres – drama, prose, and poetry – and a variety of authors, including Shakespeare, Marlowe, More, Cavendish, Spenser, and Milton.  Course requirements include a midterm and final, as well reading quizzes.
Days: TU TH  02:00-03:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies, Encounters with the Non-European World

“I am a Dane, Swede, or Frenchman at different times; or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who upon being asked what countryman he was, replied that he was a citizen of the world” – Addison, The Spectator (1711).

This course examines an emerging global consciousness in seventeenth and eighteenth-century literature and culture.  A growing global market, the expansion of empire, international exchange, scientific breakthroughs, and travelers’ reports of diverse cultures and religions contributed to a new vision what it meant to be a “citizen of the world.”  This course will consider how authors and artists depicted the diversity of their times, from the Americas to Asia, and how a global perspective challenged, enriched, and complicated English culture, conceptions of cosmopolitanism, and responses to xenophobia. Course readings include  Cavendish’s Blazing World, Behn’s Oroonoko,  Dryden’s poetry and drama, The Arabian Nights (in translation),  Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters, and Johnson’s Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. Course requirements include: paper, midterm, and final.
Days: MO WE  02:00-03:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies

In this course we will explore the writings of the "second generation" of English Romantic poets. We will look at the ways in which the redemptive promise of High Romanticism is increasingly called into question by the writers who emerge after the great achievements of Wordsworth and Coleridge. In the tense political context of the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire and the repressive European order which followed in its wake, writers as diverse as Byron, Thomas de Quincey, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats and Felicia Hemans explored extremes of feeling, of estheticism, of political protest, and of ironic detachment which have in common a fascination with incompletion or "failure".
Days: TU TH  02:00-03:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies

In 1900, residents of large cities in Europe and North America learned what was happening in the world, and among their friends, through newspapers, letters, the occasional telegram, and talk.  Books were printed; theater and music were live.  The twentieth century saw the explosion of cinema, the development of broadcast communication including radio and TV, the widespread adoption of the telephone, and the development of the Internet.  Nevertheless, novelists, playwrights, and poets continued to write.  This course will track the way novels, plays, and poems register the new media surround by representing it, adapting to it, and resisting it.

Texts will include:

Henry James, The Ambassadors (1903)
George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House (1919)
Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (1941)
Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre of the Air, The War of the Worlds (October 30, 1938)
Renata Adler, Speedboat (1976)
Caryl Churchill, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (1976) and The Skriker (1994)

The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry: Vol. II (Contemporary)
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

In the seventeenth century, libertinism emerged as a philosophical stance, a lifestyle, and a mode of literature that emphasized pleasure to the point of license: drinking to excess and all manner of voluptuous indulgence. The movement also produced some of the best poetry in the English language and at times surprisingly progressive views of gender and sexuality. In this course, we will look at the roots of libertine writing and thought in ancient and Renaissance satire, examine the heyday of courtly libertine poetry in the works of Rochester, consider the figure of the libertine on the Restoration stage, study the transfer and translation of French libertine works into English, and track the development of the English libertine novel in the eighteenth century.

Note: The material covered in this class will contain graphic descriptions of sexual behavior, some of which may be triggering.
Days:   12:00-12:00 AM