General Literature Courses Spring 2024

ENGL 314: Major British Writers after 1800

Instructor: Colleen Morrissey
55888 | MWF 10:00-10:50 AM | WES 1009 - LAWRENCE

English 314 will introduce students to a selection of major authors, texts, and aesthetic innovations of the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. We will focus on a group of authors whose works represent the formal and stylistic developments of the English literary tradition from the late 18th to the early 20th century, including Jane Austen, George Gordon (Lord Byron), Christina Rossetti, Emily Brontë, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf. Using close reading and textual analysis as our lens, we will trace how these authors and their works emblematize the social, political, and aesthetic movements of this time period while developing our critical engagement with various forms of poetry and prose.

Artistic depiction of Lord Byron

ENGL 317: Freedom and Bondage in the American Renaissance

Instructor: Paul Outka
48946 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM | Wescoe 4023 – Lawrence

This course will examine a number of texts written during the so-called “American Renaissance,” a period traditionally defined by the burst of creative work by Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Hawthorne, and several others, published in the decades preceding the Civil War. At the same time, we will broaden this canonical focus to include writers who have not been traditionally included in the American Renaissance, including Harriet Jacobs, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, David Walker, and Harriet Wilson. This broader context will allow us to view the extraordinary concern with individualism, self-creation, originality, and freedom in the canonical group through the prism of slavery, the issue that saturated the period’s political, cultural, and philosophical discourse. Rather than dismissing the canonical texts as simply escapist, or including the less canonical texts as mere variations on the central works, we will read this important literary period as fundamentally intersectional, as a profoundly interrelated series of meditations on freedom and bondage.

Frederick Douglass