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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2009

E 314L • Literary Contests and Contexts

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

The Sorrows of Romance: Literary Contests and Contexts--

From the closet drama Manfred, written by scandalous nineteenth-century poet Lord Byron, we receive a striking message: "In knowledge there is sorrow." As initiation to the discipline of English literature, this course asks how and why education can bring sorrow. What investments do authors working in the Romance genre have in presenting and withholding knowledge? From Ariosto's fifteenth-century epic Orlando Furioso to Italo Calvino’s postmodern novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, our readings will engage Romance’s generic flexibilities and its capacity to convey emotions that disrupt or facilitate knowledge production. Along the way, you will be introduced to key rivalries within Romantic literary movements (including the literary implications of an actual pissing contest between poet Alexander Pope and novelist Eliza Haywood). In sum, this course brings the toolset of cultural, historical, and formal-aesthetic methods together with the goal of understanding literature as a central site of contested knowledge. The class will prepare students for success in upper-division English courses as well as in any discipline that values careful reading, critical writing, and analytic thinking.

Grading Policy

Reflections and Participation: 25%; Short Assignments (2): 20%; Paper 1: 25%; Paper 2: 30%. Weekly reflections will be posted online as an important component of our class discussion and your participation grade. A literary analysis and a book review (1 page each) in the initial part of the semester will be followed by two essays of 6-8 pages asking you to demonstrate basic research methods based on materials learned in class.


Ariosto: Orlando Furioso (selections); Ann Radcliffe: The Italian; Johann Goethe: The Sorrows of Young Werther; Italo Calvino: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. Packet with selections from Pope, Byron, Felicia Hemans, and George Meredith


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