Course module - Literature and History
Code : ENGL10072 Credit rating: 20 Semester : 2
• To examine the relationship between texts and historical contexts;
• To introduce students to the study of literary and cultural texts within the framework of the historical past
• To cultivate the skill of close reading, especially sensitive attention to literary form;
• To study a range of texts across a range of genres and literary periods;
• To analyse and evaluate theoretical methods for studying literature historically;
• To foster both verbal and written skills in critical and analytical thinking and the deployment of evidence to sustain a coherent argument appropriate to Level 1, initial year degree work.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
By the end of this course students should have developed:
Knowledge and understanding
An extensive and detailed knowledge of the different ways in which groups of texts from two/ three historical moments represent, affect and are affected by those events;
An understanding of key debates about the study of literature in relation to history and historicity, including: the variety of ways in which texts respond to and also shape historical events; the relationship between literary form and political conflict; and the mediation and construction of history by texts and narratives.
An ability to interrogate the category of ‘history’; evaluate the usefulness and cogency of rival theoretical approaches to the study of literature in history; read texts closely in order to discuss how their form, language and so on affect and are affected by historical context.
Research, writing and analytical skills appropriate to level 1 study.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
The ability to: work independently and in groups; construct and support an argument; utilise skills in written expression such as the deployment of evidence and the organisation of a coherent argument; display a capacity for self- and peer-criticism.
EXAM 1: Take away exam on the material covered in the first four weeks of the course. Exam to take place in week 5. 1 question, 48 hours, 2000 words. (Questions published and answers submitted via Blackboard.) 30% of a student’s grade for the course.
EXAM 2: 2 hour paper—2 questions. 70% of a student’s grade for the course
The use of dictionaries in the examination is prohibited. This rule applies to all categories of students, including all Visiting Students.
The aim of the course is to explore the relationship between literature and history and to introduce students to the study of literary and cultural texts within the framework of the historical past. Students will be encouraged to explore, via close and detailed discussions of particular texts, the diverse ways in which the past and pastness are imagined and constructed. The focus will be on three historical moments; the aim is not to offer comprehensive coverage but to nurture skills that can be deployed in relation to texts from other periods. In the process students’ preconceptions about history itself will be challenged by exploring thinkers for whom history is not a singular or linear phenomenon and who ask questions about the ways in which history is produced and mediated by texts and narratives. In each week we will study a core text in order to think about history and historicisation through questions of language, style and form. Core texts will be combined with theoretical texts to develop self-reflexive critical reading practices.
THIS COURSE IS NOT AVAILABLE AS FREE-CHOICE.
(The course will focus on three historical ‘moments’, the literary responses to those moments and key critical approaches to studying literature in relation to history. The historical foci will change according to who is teaching the course.)
Week 1: Introduction - Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious (1981), Hayden White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’ (1974).
The Civil War:
Week 2: John Milton, political sonnets
Week 3: Andrew Marvell, Selected poetry
Week 4: Anna Trapnel, The Cry of a Stone
Week 5: Christopher Hill, Milton and the English Revolution (1997)
The French Revolution:
Week 5: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine
Week 6: Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Week 7: Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads
Week 8: Jerome McGann, The Romantic Ideology (1986)
Week 8 British Holocaust Poetry
Week 9 W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Week 10 Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Week 11: Pierre Nora, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire’ (1989); Dominick LaCapra, ‘History beyond the Pleasure Principle?’ (2009) and Writing History, Writing Trauma (2001)
Doan, Professor Laura
PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE FOR 2013-2014
Lecture: Tuesday, 1.00-3.00
Seminars: T B A
One 2-hour lecture per week, plus one 1-hour lecture per week.
Edmund Burke, selected prose extracts
Andrew Marvell, selected poetry
John Milton, political sonnets
Thomas Paine, selected prose extracts
W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Anna Trapnel, The Cry of a Stone
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads
Christopher Hill, Milton and the English Revolution (1997)
Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious (1981)
Dominick LaCapra, “History beyond the Pleasure Principle?” (2009)
-----------------------Writing History, Writing Trauma (2001)
Jerome McGann, The Romantic Ideology (1986)
Pierre Nora, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire’ (1989)
Hayden White, ‘The Historical Text as Literary Artifact’ (1974).