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Title: ENGL 351-01, Victorian Poetry and Prose, Spring 2011
Authors: Bigelow, Gordon
Keywords: English, Department of;Syllabus;Academic departments;Text;Curriculum;2011 Spring
Issue Date: 12-Jan-2011
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Series/Report no.: Syllabi CRN;21194
Abstract: Every period in history can be said in some way to be a direct ancestor of our own. But while every period can make some claim of this kind, the nineteenth century can in a more powerful and far-reaching way be seen as the creator of the present. The pervasive influence of the industrial system of production and relatively rapid global transport, the economy of commodities and consumers it created, the rapid change characterizing social systems based on such an economy—all these elements of life in the twenty-first century were new in the period 1837-1901, Victoria’s reign and the period we consider in this course. In response to and alongside huge changes in the shape of human life, nineteenth-century people invented ways of coping, ways of thinking about themselves and other people, that helped things make sense. These strategies for coping with modernity (a good word for summing up the strangeness of what was new in the nineteenth century) include a different sense of “the self,” of human subjectivity; a changing set of ideas about gender and sexuality; a set of positions—for and against—the new industrial economy; a set of positions about global relations, about England’s “identity” as a nation and the meaning of its conquest of a worldwide chain of colonies. These concepts and strategies, in many ways, still form the foundation of the dominant cultures in Europe and the U.S. I don’t mean that everyone believes now the same things people believed 150 years ago. There’s rarely any one unified “Victorian” belief on a given issue anyway. Rather, we inherited assumptions, concepts, norms, which are the tools of contemporary action and analysis. Concepts and strategies like these aren’t created overnight; they emerge with a kind of geologic slowness, layer on layer, out of all manner of cultural discourse: journalism, professional and academic writing, political reportage, and literature. This course weaves together the work of 6 major poets of the Victorian period with various contemporary prose works to illustrate this broad cultural process.
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor. Uploaded by Archives RSA Josephine Hill.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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