Literatures of British Enlightenment
A recent critical account of eighteenth-century fiction makes the claim that, in contrast to the oft-told narratives of secularization and disenchantment in the period, "the Enlightenment does not bear witness to wonder's demise, but rather its reinvention." Indeed, among the achievements of the era's literature is a renewed interest in marveling at the real of everyday experience. Much like the seminal philosophical texts of early modernity, in other words, fiction unsettles our knowledge of the world, defamiliarizing the ordinary. This seminar explores this claim, arguing that fantastic ways of (re)thinking the ordinary were crucial to the Enlightenment and its legacy, enabling the fanciful projection of philosophical and scientific ideas that would overturn accepted paradigms. Thus, we will look to place philosophical treatises and movements in dialogue with the narratives and thought-experiments that made them possible, or indeed, resisted their insights. In the process, we'll think about the nature of enchantment and disenchantment in the period, gain some facility with key theoretical concepts and add complexity to our account of the relation between fiction and non-fiction in the period.
Course Reading List:
Readings include: Locke, "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" Berkeley, "Treatise Concerning Principles of Human Knowledge" Defoe, "Robinson Crusoe" Swift, "Gulliver's Travels" "The Arabian Nights Entertainments" Hume, "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" Austen, "Northanger Abbey" and more.
Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Participation and Weekly Responses (20%); Conference Paper (20%); Mock Conference Presentation (20%); Final Paper (40%)
Term: F-Term (Fall or First Term: September - December 2018)
Date/Time: Tuesdays, 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 3 hours (NB: CORRECTED DAY OF WEEK)
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Fielding and Hogarth: Satire and Laughter in Eighteenth-Century Culture
What might we learn about eighteenth-century literature and aesthetics by comparing works by the author Henry Fielding and the artist William Hogarth? Inspired by new scholarship on the ever-complex interaction of word and image, this course will move between literary and visual texts produced at a distinctly transitional moment in the history of representation. Alongside Fielding's role in the rise of English fiction, we will consider Hogarth's development of a narrative mode in the graphic arts. These innovations have attracted sophisticated narratological analysis from art historians and we will read a selection of it, while simultaneously analyzing the pictorialism of Fielding's fiction. In light of new research on the geographical and commercial context in which both worked-eighteenth-century Covent Garden, "the first Bohemia," as Vic Gatrell has called it-we will explore the mechanisms of a commercial print culture that operated as much for visual artists as authors.
Henry Fielding (1707-1754) and William Hogarth (1697-1764) were friends and London neighbours for several decades. Their works made direct allusion to each other and took up strikingly similar aesthetic questions. Both delighted in caricature and harsh personal satire while never forgetting that these could be malicious. They shared an intense interest in the theatre. Coming from different social backgrounds, they debated the role of tradition and classical models. They engaged in all the political and dynastic conflicts of the age. Both were religious skeptics and never shied away from arguments about the trinity, the doctrine of atonement, the Eucharist, or the role of the church. And their works were centrally concerned with gender, sexuality, and the "fair sex debate."
Course Reading List:
Fielding: Joseph Andrews, Tom Jones, plays (The Author's Farce, The Old Debauchees, The Covent-Garden Tragedy, Tom Thumb), and periodical essays. Course reader of theoretical and contextual material. Claude Rawson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Henry Fielding (Cambridge UP, 2007); Jenny Uglow, William Hogarth: A Life and a World (Faber & Faber, 2002); Sean Shesgreen, ed., Engravings by Hogarth (Dover).
Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Seminar presentation and related documents: 30% Final paper: 50% Active and informed participation: 20%
NEW Term: S-Term (Winter or Second Term: January - April 2019) (COURSE MOVED FROM F-TERM TO S-TERM)
NEW Date/Time: Tuesdays, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 614 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)