E 379S • Senior Seminar
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
For this capstone class in a program accrediting its students as readers of literature, we will reflect on reading as a spiritual exercise that involves both self-creation and self-abnegation. To do so, we will look at novels from the period when fiction established itself firmly as the leading imaginative arena in which to think about both what it means to have a self and what it means to dissolve one's self in the contemplation of the world. Tracing forward the literary movement--"Romanticism"--that became synonymous with an ethos of extravagant self-expression, we will reflect on what kind of selves this fiction wants to create, and on how this fiction motivates us to express ourselves differently than we might otherwise have done. Meanwhile, we will also track the emergence of literary realism in works of the period, and consider such realism in relation to Romanticism. The course will thus be a course not only in the history of the novel in the Romantic period, but also in the Romantic theory of the novel. Accordingly, the final reading list will include supplemental primary sources and select secondary sources.
Assignments. In addition to completion of reading assignments, attendance and participation, the class will require: 2 to 5 short (@150 words) contributions to an online discussion forum; 2 two-page (@500 words) position papers circulated to the seminar; 1 five-page (@1500 words) paper analyzing a text; and 1 ten-page final research paper. Each student will submit a prospectus for the final research paper shortly after Spring Break, and will make a short in-class presentation on their research at the end of the semester.
Attendance, class participation, and short writing assignments 50%
Longer (five-page and ten-page) papers 50% total
The readings will be drawn from the following list: Cervantes, Don Quixote, Tobias Smollett, tr. (selections); Lennox, The Female Quixote; Rousseau, Julie, or the New Heloise; Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther; Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance; Smith, The Young Philosopher; Austen, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion; Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections); Godwin, Fleetwood; Scott, Waverley and Rob Roy.