E277 – Survey of British Literature II

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Course Level:

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Description: Description: This course introduces students to a broad range of important and influential works in British literature from the 1780s to the present, including poetry, essays, novels, treatises and pamphlets, and short stories. Students will gain an overview of the various socio-cultural and historical pressures that shaped these writers’ imaginative productions and our understandings of the origins of modernity: the French revolution; the rise of literacy, a popular reading audience, and an increasingly commercialized literary marketplace; industrialization and urbanization; the competing ideologies of gender equality and separate spheres; Darwinian science; and empire, the end of empire, and the emergence of the post-colonial consciousness. By the end of the course, students will have a solid foundation and reading competency in many important and influential works of Romantic, Victorian, and Modern literature.

As an approved course in the III-B Arts/Humanities category of the All University Core Curriculum, E 277 fulfills all of the criteria for that category.

1. The course covers foundational knowledge in the reading and interpretation of a variety of literary genres – fiction, poetry, essays, drama – over a range of historical periods from the French revolution to the present. It introduces many of the basic formal elements and interpretive skills necessary to understanding literature. And it considers the relationship of literature to the changing historical contexts that give rise to it.

2. Historically focussed as it is, the course enables the students to grasp (and to question) traditional literary historical periods – Romanticism, Victorianism, Modernism, Post-Modernism – tracing continuities and differences as literature reflects changing conceptions of self and world.

3. Students will engage in frequent written work and oral presentation, both formal and informal, thus honing their writing and speaking skills.

4. Through the study of British literature, students will gain an understanding of the similarities and differences that they as Americans share with the British of the past and present, and their different cultural contexts.

5. This course helps students develop skills in reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking, and also their abilities to work independently and collaboratively.