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

Samuel Baker

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2001, University of Chicago

Samuel Baker

Contact

Biography

In his just-published book, Written on the Water: British Romanticism and the Maritime Empire of Culture (http://amzn.to/d2SDMV), Professor Baker argues that the Romantic idea of universal culture took shape within imaginative horizons fundamentally shaped by Britain’s maritime-imperial aspirations. Dr. Baker is also writing a series of essays on ethical dispositions in the Romantic novel, tracking how stoicism and skepticism, among other attitudes, ceased to refer to specific philosophical schools and began to be seen as general psychological orientations.


Before returning to academia to take his Ph.D., Professor Baker worked as a journalist and book reviewer, as well as in museums and libraries. These experiences left him something of a generalist, and he maintains broad interests in literature and art, in film and media studies, and in politics. His current enthusiasms include works by Samuel Prout, Elizabeth Bishop, and Raul Ruiz. On a more conceptual level, he is preoccupied by the artistic evocation of place, especially as it intersects with the shaping of collective and individual subjectivity; by ethical theory, especially in relation to politics and gender and sexuality; and by problems in the aesthetics and sociology of representation.

E 329R • The Romantic Period

34695 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 206
show description

E 329R  l  The Romantic Period

Instructor:  Baker, S

Unique #:  34695

Semester:  Spring 2015

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

Flags:  Global Cultures; Writing

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: If "Romantic" names a timeless style and affect, it also names a quite specific period of British literary history: the extraordinary blossoming of poetry and prose that took place amidst the upheavals of the Age of Revolution. In this course we will read seminal texts of early British Romanticism by Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Austen, Scott, Keats, Byron, and the Shelleys, together with influential political treatises by thinkers such as Burke and Wollstonecraft, and other literary and philosophical works integral to the times.

Questions to be addressed include: What puts the "Romance" in Romanticism? What seems particularly remarkable about how these texts represent or evoke emotion, sentiment, or feeling? What does it mean for a style to seem the spirit of an age? How did the literary traditions and innovations of this particular epoch relate to its public events, such as the French Revolution, renewed British overseas imperialism, and the emergence of the industrial economy and a mass society? How did aesthetic forms change as the practice of literature changed, with new sorts of authors writing for new audiences for new reasons?

Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2A The Romantic Period; novels and other longer works by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Edmund Burke, and others.

Requirements & Grading: Writing assignments will include one short literary analysis at the beginning of the semester, two 5-page papers later in the term, two short position papers on controversies to be studied in the course, and a brief review of a scholarly article. Position papers and the article review will be work-shopped preparatory to class meetings held on the materials covered. There will be opportunities to redraft papers to improve one's grade.

E 337E • Brit Lit: Restoration-Romantic

34700 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 308
show description

E 337E  l  British Literature: The Restoration through the Romantic Era

Instructor:  Baker, S

Unique #:  34700

Semester:  Spring 2015

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

Flags:  Global Cultures; Writing

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: In this course we will read literature from a span of time (1660-1836) during which Britain was reshaped by a series of revolutions. These upheavals were political, military, scientific, industrial, and, last but not least, cultural. Indeed, the very idea of "literature" was one of this epoch’s most revolutionary productions. Reading imaginative writing from the Restoration to the Reform Act, we will trace the invention of this idea of literature, consider such literature as an end in itself, and also examine its use as a means by which to mediate both the emergence of modern society and the persistence of residual customs. The works we will read--poems, essays, novels, and plays in poetry and in prose--bespeak the shock of what was new in the age. But they also bear witness to the maintenance of royal prerogatives, to the continual sway of an aristocratic oligarchy, and to the reiteration of, even the reinvention of, traditional ways of life. We will attend especially closely to how literary treatments of tradition sometimes seem designed to express the spirit of the emergent British nation, and sometimes (even at some of the same times) seem attuned to communities subsumed into the British state, for instance the old nations of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Texts: We will read the following books, as well as other texts to be determined: Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland; James Boswell, Journal of A Tour to the Hebrides; Walter Scott, The Tale of Old Mortality; Jane Austen, Persuasion.

Requirements & Grading: Writing assignments will include one short literary analysis at the beginning of the semester, two 5-page papers later in the term, two short position papers on controversies to be studied in the course, and a brief review of a scholarly article. Position papers and the article review will be work-shopped preparatory to class meetings held on the materials covered. There will be opportunities to redraft papers to improve one's grade.

Writing will count for 60% of the final grade, attendance and class discussion participation for 40%.

E 603A • Composition/Reading World Lit

34980 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm CRD 007B
show description

 

Description:

In this course, we will read, think, write, and converse about literature and life. Studying both ancient and modern works, we will encounter ways to experience the world that are variously traditional and innovative, simple, sincere, and sophisticated. In the fall semester, we will engage all three of what the classical philosopher Aristotle defined as the main areas of literary endeavor: epic, drama, and lyric poetry. Our reading list for that semester will mostly consist of ancient Greek literature, but it will also include some Roman literature, some classical Chinese poetry, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. In the spring we will leap forward to read nineteenth century poetry, plays, and novels, as well as Tom Stoppard’s dramatic retrospective on the era, Arcadia.

Texts/Readings:

Fall:                                                                        

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter                                       

Homer, The Iliad                                                          

Homer, The Odyssey                                                    

Archilochus, selected poems                                         

Sappho, selected poems                                               

Aeschylus, Oedipus Tyrannus                                        

Euripides, Bacchae                                                       

Plautus, The Haunted House                                         

Qu Yuan, “Encountering Sorrow”                                   

Li Bai, selected poems                                                  

Du Fu, selected poems                                                 

Petrarch, selected poems                                            

Shakespeare, selected poems

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Spring:

Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry

Smith, from Elegiac Sonnets

Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads

Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel

Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Canto I

Scott, Waverley

Austen, Persuasion

Dickinson, selected poems

Baudelaire, selected poems

Eliot, Middlemarch

James, Daisy Miller

Stoppard, Arcadia

Assignments:

Requirements will include attendance and participation, a series of short papers (each counting for 10% or 15% of the final grade), occasional quizzes, and a final exam, asking students to identify and discuss passages from our reading, that will be weighed in with your participation grade (so that students can demonstrate a mastery of the reading both through participation and through the exam).

About the Professor:

Samuel Baker has been teaching at the University of Texas since 2001. He studied Comparative Literature at Columbia University and he holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. He specializes in British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and also teaches in the fields of British studies and media studies. In 2010 he published a book, Written on the Water: British Romanticism and the Maritime Empire of Culture. He is currently working on a new book on the history of the gothic.

 

 

 

E 392M • Media, Cul, Environ, 1780-1850

36110 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 900am-1030am CAL 221
show description

Media, Culture and Environment, 1780-1850

In this course we will read Romantic and early Victorian literature, journalism, and social theory in an effort to recapture how period writers understood the relationship between national culture, literary media, and their natural and social environments. In so doing we will be revisiting a problematic explored by British cultural theory of the last century, some of which we will read. “Culture and Environment” is the title of F. R. Leavis and Denys Thompson’s 1930s tract subtitled “the Training of Critical Awareness.” In their book, Leavis and Thompson urge critics to preserve a culture threatened by the hostile environment of the modern mediascape. Yet many of the critics who read Leavis and Thompson decided instead to explore and understand that mediascape as itself “culture,” thereby refashioning literary studies into cultural studies. Raymond Williams, in works like Culture and Society and The Country and the City, wrote histories that traced a dialectic between a literary culture and a media environment both caught up in a broader structure of feeling. Williams’s works raised questions about the relationship between social and natural environments which were explored by John Barrell and other critics who focused on literary representations of the British landscape. Leavis, Williams, and Barrell themselves acknowledge that they move between positions originally staked out by Francis Jeffrey and the other Edinburgh Reviewers, by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and their allies, and by Leigh Hunt, Percy Shelley, and their early Victorian liberal followers. In this course we will seek to follow this double movement by reading both these romantic-period authors and their twentieth century interpreters.  This course should thus be of use not only to students of eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature but also to students interested in the history of criticism, cultural studies, media studies, and literature and the environment.

E S321 • Shakespeare: Sel Plays-Gbr

83380 • Summer 2014
Meets
show description

Instructor:  Baker, S

Unique #:  83380

Semester:  Summer 2014, second session

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Global cultures

Restrictions: Oxford Summer Program participants

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: In this course we will broaden and deepen our understanding of Shakespeare's achievement, and develop our eloquence about it. We will read four of his plays, discuss and stage them in the classroom, and attend professional performances of those plays at historic venues in England. We will bring different kinds and levels of knowledge to our individual readings of our plays—Macbeth, All’s Well that Ends Well, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and so a main collective project for us will be to learn from each other by comparing our ideas about these texts and our reactions to performances that we can be sure will go beyond what we have imagined possible. In particular, we will relate our skills in the interpretation of texts to the interpretive activities of acting and dramaturgy.

Requirements & Grading: Students will collaborate to write, edit, illustrate, and publish a pair of competing blogs dedicated to describing, appreciating, and criticizing the experience of Shakespeare in England. Grades will be determined as follows: Written work = 50%; Class participation (measured in part on quality of contributions) = 50%.

E 337E • Brit Lit: Restoration-Romantic

35945 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 103
show description

Instructor:  Baker, S

Unique #:  35945

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: In this course we will read literature from a span of time (1660-1836) during which Britain was reshaped by a series of revolutions. These upheavals were political, military, scientific, industrial, and, last but not least, cultural. Indeed, the very idea of "literature" was one of this epoch’s most revolutionary productions. Reading imaginative writing from the Restoration to the Reform Act, we will trace the invention of this idea of literature, consider such literature as an end in itself, and also examine its use as a means by which to mediate both the emergence of modern society and the persistence of residual customs. The works we will read--poems, essays, novels, and plays in poetry and in prose--bespeak the shock of what was new in the age. But they also bear witness to the maintenance of royal prerogatives, to the continual sway of an aristocratic oligarchy, and to the reiteration of, even the reinvention of, traditional ways of life. We will attend especially closely to how literary treatments of tradition sometimes seem designed to express the spirit of the emergent British nation, and sometimes (even at some of the same times) seem attuned to communities subsumed into the British state, for instance the old nations of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Requirements & Grading: Writing assignments will include one short literary analysis at the beginning of the semester, two 5-page papers later in the term, two short position papers on controversies to be studied in the course, and a brief review of a scholarly article. Position papers and the article review will be work-shopped preparatory to class meetings held on the materials covered. There will be opportunities to redraft papers to improve one's grade.

Writing will count for 60% of the final grade, attendance and class discussion participation for 40%.

Texts: We will read the following books, as well as other texts to be determined: Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland; James Boswell, Journal of A Tour to the Hebrides; Daniel Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year; Walter Scott, The Tale of Old Mortality; Jane Austen, Persuasion.

E 349S • Scott And Wordsworth

36035 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 302
(also listed as LAH 350 )
show description

Instructor:  Baker, S

Unique #:  36035

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  LAH 35

Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: In this course we will read extensively in the works of William Wordsworth and Walter Scott, arguably the two authors who have exerted the most influence over modern literature in English. Still widely studied today, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) remains (to quote Percy Shelley) our preeminent "poet of nature." Walter Scott (1771-1832), by contrast, while he was once far and away the world's most popular and influential novelist, is now little known to readers other than literary historians. Scott was however a ballad collector and a poet before he was a novelist, and his early poetic projects mattered greatly to Wordsworth and to the other main progenitors of the Romantic movement. In turn, Scott was an avid reader of Wordsworth's work, which he cites frequently in the landmark historical novels he began publishing in his thirties. By reading these authors in tandem we will come to a deeper understanding of the modern literary representation of nature, history, and nation across the wide range of genres and styles in which these authors wrote.

Texts: We will read a few (far from all) of the following works.Wordsworth: poems and prefaces from Lyrical Ballads (1798, 1800, and following editions), Poems in Two Volumes (1807), The White Doe of Rylstone (1807), The Excursion (1814), Poems (1815), Yarrow Revisited (1835), The Prelude (1850). Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion, Waverley, Guy Mannering, The Antiquary, The Heart of Midlothian, The Talisman, Woodstock, and Chronicles of the Canongate.

Requirements & Grading: Seminar Attendance and Participation (including short quizzes), 40%; Writing, 60%.

The English Department's Honors seminars are designed in part to prepare students to write senior theses. With this in mind, "Wordsworth and Scott" will feature writing assignments at increasing lengths, moving from one-paragraph and two-paragraph essays through 5-page and eventually 15-page efforts. Extensive written and oral feedback will be delivered in person and electronically; there will be several opportunities to revise in light of comments. Several rounds of peer-review workshopping are planned for both shorter and longer writing efforts.

E 329R • The Romantic Period

35400 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 206
show description

Instructor:  Baker, S            Areas:  II / E

Unique #:  35400            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Spring 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: If "Romantic" names a timeless style and affect, it also names a quite specific period of British literary history: the extraordinary blossoming of poetry and prose that took place amidst the upheavals of the Age of Revolution. In this course we will read seminal texts of early British Romanticism by Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Austen, Scott, Keats, Byron, and the Shelleys, together with influential political treatises by thinkers such as Burke and Wollstonecraft, and other literary and philosophical works integral to the times.

Questions to be addressed include: What puts the "Romance" in Romanticism? What seems particularly remarkable about how these texts represent or evoke emotion, sentiment, or feeling? What does it mean for a style to seem the spirit of an age? How did the literary traditions and innovations of this particular epoch relate to its public events, such as the French Revolution, renewed British overseas imperialism, and the emergence of the industrial economy and a mass society? How did aesthetic forms change as the practice of literature changed, with new sorts of authors writing for new audiences for new reasons?

Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2A The Romantic Period; novels and other longer works by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Edmund Burke, and others.

Requirements & Grading: Attendance and participation, weighted together with three in-class tests and a final exam = 75%; Several short essays and other writing assignments = 25%.

E 603A • Comp And Reading In World Lit

34525 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CAL 323
show description

In this course, we will read, think, write, and converse about literature and life. Studying both ancient and modern works, we will encounter ways to experience the world that are variously traditional and innovative, simple, sincere, and sophisticated. In the fall semester, we will engage all three of what the classical philosopher Aristotle defined as the main areas of literary endeavor: epic, drama, and lyric poetry. Our reading list for that semester will mostly consist of ancient Greek literature, but it will also include some Roman literature, some classical Chinese poetry, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. In the spring we will leap forward to read nineteenth century poetry, plays, and novels, as well as Tom Stoppard’s dramatic retrospective on the era, Arcadia.

Texts/Readings:

Fall

The Homeric Hynm to Demeter

Homer, The Iliad

Homer, The Odyssey

Archilochus, selected poems

Sappho, selected poems

Aeschylus, Oedipus Tyrannus

Euripides, Bacchae

Plautus, The Haunted House

Qu Yuan, "Encountering Sorrow"

Li Bai, selected poems

Du Fu, selected poems

Petrarch, selected poems

Shakespeare, selected poems

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Spring

Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry

Smith, from Elegiac Sonnets

Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads

Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel

Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I

Scott, Waverley

Austen, Persuasion

Dickenson, selected poems

Baudelaire, selected poems

Eliot, Middlemarch

James, Daisy Miller

Stoppard, Arcadia

Assignments:

Requirements will include attendance and participation, a series of short papers (each counting for 10% or 15% of the final grade), occasional quizzes, and a final exam, asking students to identify and discuss passages from our reading, that will be weighed in with your participation grade (so that students can demonstrate a mastery of the reading both through participation and through the exam).

About the Professor:

Samuel Baker has been teaching at the University of Texas since 2001. He studied Comparative Literature at Columbia University and he holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. He specializes in British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and also teaches in the fields of British studies and media studies. In 2010 he published a book, Written on the Water: British Romanticism and the Maritime Empire of Culture. He is currently working on a new book on the history of the gothic.

E 392M • The Essay: Hist/Prac Of A Form

35860 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 214
show description

Literary History/Critical Practice of Form: The Essay

Starting from a consideration of the relationship between scholarship in English and the current state of the craft of essay writing, this class will construct a genealogy of the essay form that reaches back to Montaigne and Bacon, and touches on the Augustans, but lingers longest on the nineteenth century periodical culture in which Lamb, De Quincey, and Eliot all thrived. Special attention will be paid to how some singular recent academic essayists negotiate the form's demands for both exploratory self-fashioning and critical judgement: such recent writers read will include Terry Castle, Frank Kermode, Eve Sedgwick, Paul de Man, and F. R. and Q. D. Leavis.

E 392M • Modrnty Early Romantic Poetry

35675 • Spring 2012
Meets W 1100am-200pm BEN 1.106
show description

Enlightenment and Modernity in Early Romantic Poetry

(instructor TBA)

At the outset of the Romantic period in Britain, poets self-consciously employed the formal devices of irony, paradox, dialogism and synesthesia to enact their new meanings in the manner of traditional oral-formulaic song.  Yet in practice their paths diverged. In the case of Blake, illuminated printing, appealing as it does physically to the organ of the eye, uniquely invests these rhetorical forms with a real substantial presence and a performativity that are essentially different from Romantic-period dramatic imitations of old song. While the cases of Wordsworth and Coleridge at first find a renewed commitment to poetic imagination achieving similar effects, these poets soon dissociated themselves from each other, while each revealing traditionalist commitments quite unlike those of Blake.

In this course we will investigate Blake’s post-Englightenment embrace of modernity, and the Lake poets' more equivocal engagment with it. Main themes to be traced will include: 1) The afterlife of Enlightened ideologies of Reason, Natural Religion, and moral Sympathy as those ideologies were refashioned by the Lake poets and critiqued by Blake.  2) The significance of Blake's adoption of the method of etching in relief to bring the performativity of traditional song and storytelling into print.  3) Blake's idea of time as an eternally returning Moment, and its consequences for his view of history and for recent critical attempts to historicize his work and beliefs, as contrasted with Coleridge (and Wordsworth's) ideas of history.  4) The importance of Englightenment theories of touch and perception--as delineated in the works of John Locke, David Hartley and Joseph Priestley, among others--for these poets, and of the intellectual-historical contexts provided by George Berkeley’s idealism, Priestley’s doctrine of “the immateriality of matter,” and the 18th-century doctrine of objects as having “presence to the mind.”

Given these main themes, the course will include substantial readings in eighteenth-century prose as well as in Romantic poetry, and attention will also be paid to how early Romantic poetry echoes and revises other poets such as Homer, Herbert, Marvell, Milton, Gray, and Chatterton.

E 337E • Brit Lit: Restoration-Romantic

35245 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 103
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

 Description: In the era we will cover in this course, Britain was reshaped by a series of revolutions. These upheavals were political, military, scientific, industrial, and, last but not least, cultural. Indeed, the very idea of "literature" was one of this period's most revolutionary productions. Reading imaginative writing from the Restoration to the Reform Act, we will trace the invention of this idea of literature, consider such literature as an end in itself, and also examine its use as a means by which to mediate both the emergence of modern society and the persistence of residual customs. The works we will read--poems, essays, novels, and plays in poetry and in prose--bespeak the shock of what was new in the age. But they also bear witness to the maintenance of royal prerogatives, to the continual sway of an aristocratic oligarchy, and to the reiteration of, even the reinvention of, traditional ways of life. We will attend especially closely to how literary treatments of tradition sometimes seem designed to express the spirit of the emergent British nation, and sometimes (even at some of the same times) seem attuned to communities subsumed into the British state, for instance the old nations of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Requirements & Grading: Writing assignments will include one short literary analysis at the beginning of the semester, two 5-page papers later in the term, two short position papers on controversies to be studied in the course, and a brief review of a scholarly article. Position papers and the article review will be work-shopped preparatory to class meetings held on the materials covered. There will be opportunities to redraft papers to improve one's grade.

Writing will count for 60% of the final grade, attendance and class discussion participation for 40%.

Texts: Authors and works read will include some from the following list: De Quincey (Confessions of an English Opium Eater), Scott (Woodstock, The Lay of the Last Minstrel), Dryden ("Absalom and Achitophel"), Congreve (The Way of the World), Defoe ("The True Born Englishman," Roxana), Montagu (Turkish Letters) Pope ("The Rape of the Lock"), Fielding (Joseph Andrews), Walpole (The Castle of Otranto), Macpherson (Fragments of Ancient Poetry), Johnson (Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland), Boswell (Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides), Burney (Evelina), Smith (Elegiac Sonnets), Cowper (The Task), Burns ("To a Mouse"), Baillie (Orra), Coleridge ("Christabel," "Frost at Midnight," and prose essays), Wordsworth ("The Thorn," "Resolution and Independence"), Godwin (St. Leon), Shelley (Frankenstein), Byron (Don Juan), and Lamb (Essays of Elia).

E 392M • Lit/Media In Age Of Revolutn

35675 • Fall 2011
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm MEZ 2.118
show description

Literature and other Media in the Age of Revolution

This course will weigh how we might recast the literary history of the Age of Revolution in Britain if we emphasize industrial and scientific revolution as well as political revolution, and if we reconsider literature as a medium among other media in the period. To this end, the course will unfold in five units. The first of these, a primarily historical unit relying on secondary materials, will bring students up to date on the state of the conversation about print as the dominant medium of the early modern era and about the consequences of print culture for enlightenment, nationalism, modernization and modernity. A second unit will then juxtapose to this account of print culture some readings on late eighteenth century visual art, with a focus on landscape as both subject and object of artistic efforts in the era. We will then narrow our focus to a trio of case studies. We will treat the industrial revolution by studying the Wedgwood circle, including the material culture of the famous pottery manufactories and the poetry of Erasmus Darwin; we will engage with the scientific revolution by reading the prose and poetry of Humphry Davy while considering his inventions as things of aesthetic interest; finally, we will revisit political revolution with a fresh look at the debates between radicals and revolutionaries in the 1790s.

Students will work independently and in small groups to compile bibliographies; there will be a substantial seminar paper of approximately 15-18 pages due at the end of the Semester.

E S321 • Shakespeare: Sel Plays-Eng

83780 • Summer 2011
Meets
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

 

E 379M (Topic 3: Shakespeare in Performance) may not also be counted.

 

Description: In this course we will broaden and deepen our understanding of Shakespeare's achievement, and develop our eloquence about it. We will read four of his plays, discuss and stage them in the classroom, and attend professional performances of those plays at historic venues in England. We will bring different kinds and levels of knowledge to our individual readings of our plays—Macbeth, All’s Well that Ends Well, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and so a main collective project for us will be to learn from each other by comparing our ideas about these texts and our reactions to performances that we can be sure will go beyond what we have imagined possible. In particular, we will relate our skills in the interpretation of texts to the interpretive activities of acting and dramaturgy.

 

Requirements & Grading: Students will be required to keep a critical journal while in residence at Oxford. This journal will be the venue for both informal and formal writing--the latter in response to assigned questions and/or exercises. Students are also required to attend class and the featured productions. Grades will be determined as follows: Written work = 50%; Class participation (measured in part on quality of contributions) = 50%.

E 379R • The Romantic Novel

35875 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm MEZ 2.122
show description

E 379R  l  The Romantic Novel

E 379S (embedded topic: The Romantic Novel) may not also be counted.

 

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Course Description: In this course we will read, reread, and research 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 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, and class projects will involve building bibliographies on the novel in the period and developing sophisticated arguments about the genre.

Texts: The readings will be drawn from the following list: Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Rousseau, Julie, or the New Heloise; Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest; Godwin, Caleb Williams and Fleetwood; Austen, Northanger Abbey and Emma; Scott, Rob Roy and The Heart of Midlothian.

Grading: 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, written in stages with input from the instructor and from classmates. 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 and class participation: 30% of total final grade; Written work: 70% of final grade.

E 392M • 19th-Cen Brit Poetry & Poetics

36010 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.104
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Nineteenth-Century British Poetry & Poetics

In this course we will survey British poetry and criticism from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Arnold and Swinburne, giving special attention to the formal issues engaged (and sometimes evaded) in the criticism and belletristic writings of the period. While the course will thus highlight how writers of its era understood such literary considerations as meter, diction, and genre, it will by no means neglect their incipient “social formalism.” To the contrary, we will continually seek to connect the political and social implications of the texts we discuss with the debates over technique that served as main venues for struggles among their authors. In general, we will try to build a three-dimensional understanding of how nineteenth-century authors, audiences, and institutions understood poetic activity, and of what was at stake when these understandings diverged. We will make a case study of the fortunes of the pastoral in a period that is often thought to have seen the death of that particular poetic kind. If the genre as such became attenuated, can we still track its persistence by tracing the verse forms and techniques with which it had been associated, as well as by the more usual sort of affective historiography that moves on from pastoral poetry proper to examine pastoral structures of feeling?

After a brief introductory look at John Stuart Mill’s account of the Romantics’ importance, we will begin with the 1800 edition of the Lyrical Ballads, and wend our way to Swinburne and his reappraisal of Arnold after the latter poet’s death in 1888. While the course will have one center of gravity in the late Romantic period, with Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria and Wordsworth's The Excursion, and another in its pairing of Arnold and Swinburne, it will cover a broad range of other authors, possibly also including, among others, Smith, Scott, Moore, Hemans, Tennyson, L.E.L., the Brownings, and Clough, and will make good use of the strong relevant collections at the HRC. While the material covered will be primarily British, we will venture across the Atlantic from time to time, e.g. to consider how Fireside Poets such as Longfellow, or sui generis verse artists such as Whitman, respond to British poetic norms while shaping those norms for a transatlantic readership.

E 350M • Romanticism & The Gothic-Hon

34705 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 210
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Restricted to students admitted to the English Honors Program.

Course Description: In this course we will reflect on reading and feeling, as mediated by that marginalized genre that has turned out to be Romanticism's central bequest to modernity: the gothic. We will consider reading gothic fiction as a spiritual exercise that involves both self-creation and self-abnegation, by looking 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 terrors and joys to be found in 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 destroy—and on how this fiction urges us to live differently than we have otherwise. Meanwhile, we will 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 theory of the gothic and of the history of the novel in the Romantic period, but also in the Romantic or gothic theory of the novel. Accordingly, students will have the opportunity to work with supplemental primary sources and secondary sources.

Texts: The reading list for the course will include some of the following works: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpts from The Confessions and other autobiographical, fictional, and philosophical works; Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, as well as letters and memoirs concerning Rousseau; Johann Wolfgang von  Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, the 1774 blockbuster, in a English translation from 1777; Henry Mackenzie, Julia de Roubigné, his 1777 reworking of Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse; Matthew Lewis, The Monk, one of the preeminent novels of gothic horror; Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest, one of her gothics that inspired Lewis to write his tale, and The Italian, which in various ways responds to it; Charlotte Smith, The Old Manor House, another novel written in dialogue with the Radcliffian gothic, by Austen's other favorite novelist (besides Radcliffe); Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion; Walter Scott, The Antiquary and Old Mortality.

Grading: Honors seminars instruct students in literary research methods that will eventually prepare them to write a sustained Honors thesis.  Hence we will be working to master basic tools for literary research (such as the OED and MLA Bibliography) and to familiarize ourselves with online and local archives such as, EEBO, ESTC, ECCO, and the various archives at the HRC. Requirements will include a series of writing assignments, culminating in a 15-18-page research paper, that together will comprise 66% of the course grade; 34% of the final grade will be based on attendance and participation.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

E 379M • Romantic Legends-Eng

83325 • Summer 2010
Meets
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Restricted to participants in the Oxford Summer Program

Course Description: Robin Hood; Joan of Arc; Lancelot, Guinevere, and King Arthur: we imagine that these have been important literary characters ever since their exploits were chronicled by the monks, bards, and balladeers of their own times. Yet in truth these characters are mainly legendary. They really only assumed their now-familiar forms in the nineteenth century -the same century that bequeathed to us our popular idea of the poets of olden days.

Texts: In this course we will read some of the works of British Romantic literature, broadly construed, that did the most to invent such cherished traditions. These Romantic works, it turns out, are strangely modern. They present us with a multimedia experience that transports us into antique historical settings while engaging with concerns of the nineteenth century and of our own day. The name these works give to this experience is "poetry", and this course will serve the uninitiated as an excellent introduction to poetry's unique qualities. We will read the early ballads and sonnets that set the tone for the Romance revival; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's tale of Gothic horror "Christabel" and Sir Walter Scott's chivalric romance "The Lay of the Music Minstrel"; philosophical blank verse poems by the Lake Poets, including William Wordsworth's epochal "Tintern Abbey"; and later Medieval visions from John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Christina Rossetti. We will read a novel seasoned with interpolated poems: Scott's Ivanhoe, the nineteenth-century's favorite story and the crucial modern account of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. We will also look at Jane Austen's parody of the Romantic gothic imagination in Northanger Abbey.

Students will write four short papers, and will go on several field trips to Medieval locales: to Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle, and perhaps also to Newstead Abbey, which both the Sheriff of Nottingham and the Romantic poet Lord Byron made their abode.

Grading: Four short papers (40%); Participation and attendance  (60%).

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

E 316K • Masterworks Of Lit: English

34360-34395 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm FAC 21
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E316K Masterworks of English Literature

Spring 2010, The University of Texas at Austin

Instructor: Professor Samuel Baker, Ph.D. Lecture: Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30-4:45
  sebaker@austin.utexas.edu    
  Calhoun 308 Discussion: Fridays (see UT direct for details)
  W 2:30-5:30 (and by app’t)    
  (512) 471-8389 Unique Numbers: 34360, 34365, 34370, 34375,
      34380, 34385, 34390, 34395
Assistants: Banafsheh Madaninejad Katherine Briggs  
  Michael Roberts Ashton Harding  

Literature is many things; and in being many things, literature has been perhaps the most dynamic medium for human experience. In this course, we will study masterworks of English literature: great pieces of writing from the culture that bequeathed us our main language and much else besides. We will consider how these masterworks were engineered, how they were marketed, and how they were consumed. In so doing, we will improve our ability to read, write, and think critically about literature, and moreover about the histories, cultures, and experiences that literature mediates. We may not fully master literature—who, in the end, ever could?—but in getting to know it, we will sharpen our awareness of ourselves, our languages, and our worlds. As part of this process, we will attend especially to the material vehicles of the literary medium—to the voice, to the book, to the performance—and even to those more recent and more evidently “mixed” media, such as recorded music and cinema, where the inextricability of words from sonic and visual images is generally most acute for us.

Texts for the course:

The following books are available at the University Coop: Jane Austen, Persuasion (OUP), Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, The Rover, and other Works (Penguin), John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (OUP),  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (OUP), Charles Dickens, Hard Times (OUP), John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (Penguin), Thomas More, Utopia (Penguin), William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Arden), Tom Stoppard, Arcadia (Faber and Faber), Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (Harcourt), William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (Broadview).

In addition, we will be reading various poems and short prose pieces, which will be made available via electronic reserve (eReserves) or Blackboard.

Feel free to use alternative editions or library copies, but do procure the books for the course, and understand that you are responsible for being aware of any differences between your text and that made available. Reading these texts online will not suffice. You will be expected to bring the relevant texts for each day to lecture and to section.

Finally, you are also required to procure and register an iClicker device (available at the University Coop) and bring it with you to each lecture after the end of January.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

E 379S • Senior Seminar-W

35180 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PAR 304
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E379S Senior Seminar: The Romantic Novel

Spring 2010, The University of Texas at Austin
  Meeting Times: Tu Th 12:30-1:45
  Location: PAR 304
  Unique Number: 35180
     
  Instructor: Professor Samuel Baker, Ph.D.
    sebaker@mail.utexas.edu
    Calhoun 308
    W 2:30-5:30 (and by appointment)

For this capstone course 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-concern, we will reflect on what kind of selves this fiction wants to create—and destroy—and on how this fiction urges us to live differently than we have otherwise. Meanwhile, we will 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, students will have the opportunity to work with supplemental primary sources and secondary sources.

All students are required to do the reading, attend class, and participate. Occasional quizzes will be given to encourage completion of the reading and help brainstorm for discussions.  (These will factor into the participation and attendance grade.) Most Wednesdays at 5 PM, a 500-word essay will be due on a theme assigned the previous Friday. The best seven of these eleven short papers will count toward your grade (so three may be skipped without further penalty). There will also be a 500-word paper on some selected secondary readings; a research visit to the Harry Ransom Center; an annotated bibliography assignment; a final five-page paper developing one of the shorter essays; and a short paper, not independently graded, introducing a final class portfolio assembling all of the above work. Students who wish to substitute a ten-page research paper for the final five-page paper may also skip (or have not counted) an additional Wednesday theme. Final research papers need not center on texts read for this class, although they must be in dialogue with the class’s concerns.

Final Grade Formula:          Attendance and informed participation           50%
                                        Writing Assignments                                     50%

Assignment and final grades will be given across a range from A to F that will include the plus and minus grades (e.g. A- and C+) recently introduced at the University of Texas.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

Publications

Baker, S. (2010) "The Transmission of Affect: Philosophy, Feeling, and the Media of Udolpho." J. Staiger, A. Cvetkovich & A. Reynolds (Eds.), Political Emotions: Affect and the Public Sphere. New York: Routledge.

Baker, S. (2010) Written on the Water: British Romanticism and the Maritime Empire of Culture (Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press). 

Baker, S. (2009) "Scott's Stoic Characters: Ethics, Irony, and Sentiment in The Antiquary, Guy Mannering, and the Author of Waverley." MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly 70:4, 443-471.

Baker, S. (2009) "Teaching the Waverley Novels: An Intertextual Approach." In E. Gottlieb & I. Duncan (Eds.), Approaches to Teaching Scott's Waverley Novels. New York: Modern Language Association.

Baker, S. (2008) "The Maritime Georgic and the Lake poet Empire of Culture." ELH: English Literary History, 75(3), 531-563.

Baker, S. (2006) "Animated Looks: The Romantic Literary Sketch and the Unfinished Project of Modern Transparency." Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics, 6, 73-95.

Baker, S. (2006) Book Review. Romanticism and War: A Study of British Romantic Period Writers and the Napoleonic Wars. European Romantic Review 17(5), 636-640.

Baker, S. (2003) "Wordsworth, Arnold, and the Maritime Matrix of Culture." The Wordsworth Circle, 34(1), 24-29.

Baker, S. (2002) Book Review. The Poetics of Spice. The Keats-Shelley Journal 51, 231-233.

Baker, S. (2000) Book Review. Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief. Modernism/Modernity 7(1), 183-184.

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