Thursday, September 04, 2014

Syllabus revamp

I first taught this graduate seminar about ten years ago - I wasn't that long out of graduate school, and though it's not exactly classic eighteenth-century studies, it made more sense at that time, since there were no eighteenth-century graduate students and I was more hoping to woo a few nineteenth-centuryists over the romantic divide, to teach something like this that complemented the lecture course I also offered on the eighteenth-century novel more traditionally conceived. In that iteration (the list of novels was a little different too), I gave a big critical bibliography and had each student write a report one week on a work of criticism or history that would summarize & make accessible that essay or book's arguments for classmates.

It was a late curriculum decision to add this course for the fall semester (leaves and departures left us undersupplied with graduate seminar in 18th- and 19th-century literature). This is an easy and fun one for me to bring out for the occasion, and we again have a strong incoming cohort of nineteenth-centuryists who may find these readings interesting and useful. But I really wanted to do a fuller job with the criticism.

It's not true for all graduate seminars, and I would consider my particular strength as a teacher and scholar being more my ability to make even the oddest and most obscure of 18th-century books come alive than any particular affinity for big-picture critical thinking, but it is very useful if a seminar like this can provide an introduction to the sub-discipline, touching on a few big critical controversies that extend even outside the subfield (here, say, the Sedgwick-Miller axis and also the Moretti) and that would put the student in a better position to write a dissertation chapter or an article on a constellation of comparable primary texts.

Now the class is telling two different stories in counterpoint, something I enjoy!

I love Facebook these days for crowdsourcing questions of this sort - I got some great recommendations from friends and colleagues. Here is the retooled list of readings (special thanks to Anahid Nersessian, who suggested a couple things I never would have thought of, and to Marcie Frank for sharing her in-press essay on Inchbald):


9/8 Introductory class

9/15 Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story (1791)

#Terry Castle, “Masquerade and Utopia II: Inchbald’s ‘A Simple Story,’”from Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-Century English Culture and Fiction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986), 290-330
#Marcie Frank, “Melodrama and the Politics of Literary Form in Elizabeth Inchbald,” forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Fiction

9/22 Charlotte Smith, Desmond (1792)

#Gary Kelly, “Women Novelists and the French Revolution Debate: Novelising the Revolution/Revolutionizing the Novel,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 6:4 (July 1994): 369-88
#Claudia L. Johnson, “The Age of Chivalry and the Crisis of Gender,” from Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 1-19

9/29 William Godwin, Caleb Williams (1794)

#Jon Mee, “Critical Conversation in the 1790s: Godwin, Hays, and Wollstonecraft,” from Conversable Worlds: Literature, Contention, and Community, 1762-1830 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 137-167
#John Bender, "Impersonal Violence: The Penetrating Gaze and the Field of Narration in Caleb Williams," in Critical Reconstructions: The Relationship of Fiction and Life, ed. Roger B. Henkle and Robert M. Polhemus (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 111-126
#Andrew Franta, “Godwin’s Handshake,” PMLA 122:3 (2007): 696-710

10/6 Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary (1788) and The Wrongs of Woman: or, Maria (1798)

#Claudia L. Johnson, “Embodying the Sentiments: Mary and The Wrongs of Woman,” in Equivocal Beings, 47-69
#Miranda J. Burgess, “Wollstonecraft and the revolution of economic history,” from British Fiction and the Production of Social Order, 1740-1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 113-49

10/13 Mary Hays, Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796) and William Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication (1798)

#Tilottama Rajan, “Autonarration and Genotext in Mary Hays’ Memoirs of Emma Courtney,” Studies in Romanticism 32:2 (Summer 1993): 149-76
#Clara Tuite, “Tainted Love and Romantic Literary Celebrity,” ELH 74.1 (2007): 59-88
#James Chandler, “Sentimental Journeys, Vehicular States,“ from An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 176-202

10/20 Elizabeth Hamilton, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800)
#Richard Polwhele, The Unsex’d Females (1798)

# M. O. Grenby, “Novels reproved and reprieved,” from The Anti-Jacobin Novel: British Conservatism and the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 13-27
#Claire Grogan, Politics and Genre in the Works of Elizabeth Hamilton, 1756-1816 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012), 51-89
#David Simpson, from Romanticism, Nationalism, and the Revolt Against Theory (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 104-125

10/27 Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray (1805)

#Franco Moretti, “Style, Inc. Reflections on Seven Thousand Titles (British Novels, 1740-1850),” Critical Inquiry 36:1 (2009): 134-158
#Katie Trumpener, “Paratext and Genre System: A Response to Franco Moretti,” Critical Inquiry 36:1 (2009): 159-171
#Kenneth Johnston, “Whose History? My Place or Yours? Republican Assumptions and Romantic Traditions,” in Romanticism, History, Historicism: Essays on an Orthodoxy, ed. Damian Walford Davies (New York: Routledge, 2009), 79-102

11/3 Election holiday: no class

11/10 Maria Edgeworth, Belinda (1801)

#Clifford Siskin, “What We Remember: The Case of Austen,” from The Work of Writing: Literature and Social Change in Britain, 1700-1830 (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), 193-209
#Clara Tuite, “Sensibility, free indirect style and the Romantic technology of discretion,” in Romantic Austen: Sexual Politics and the Literary Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 56-97

11/17 Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811)

#Claudia L. Johnson, “A ‘Sweet Face as White as Death’: Jane Austen and the Politics of Female Sensibility,” Novel 22:2 (1989): 159-174
#Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” Critical Inquiry 17 (1991): 818-837
#D. A. Miller, “Secret Love,” from Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 1-29

Paper proposal and annotated bibliography due Friday 11/21 to my mailbox in 602

11/24 Sir Walter Scott, Heart of Midlothian (1818)

#Beth Newman, “The Heart of Midlothian and the Masculinization of Fiction,” Criticism 36:4 (1994): 521-540
#Katie Trumpener, “National Character, Nationalist Plots: National Tale and Historical Novel in the Age of Waverley, 1806-1830,” ELH 60:3 (1993): 685-731

12/1 Final class meeting: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

#Ronald Paulson, “Gothic Fiction and the French Revolution,” ELH 48:3 (1981): 532-554
#Maureen McLane, “Literate species,” from Romanticism and the Human Sciences: Poetry, Population, and the Discourse of the Species (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 84-108
Carolyn Steedman, “Nelly’s Version,” from Master and Servant: Love and Labour in the English Industrial Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 193-216

12/8 No class

Final paper due Monday 12/15 to my mailbox in 602

1 comment: