This advanced seminar explores the period between roughly 1890 and 1920
by homing on a key set of artistic transitions: from literary realism to
modernism; from the Victorian period to the fin-de-siècle; and from the
Edwardian years to the post-war avantgarde. We will pay particular attention to
the global horizons of turn-of-the-century fiction; to changing gender
politics; to literature’s attempts to represent (and to come to terms with) the
violent shocks of industrialized warfare; as well as to the surprising
longevity of literary forms and genres across this tumultuous period. We will read a range of literary works from the
decades 1890-1920, and you will also study scholarly articles for some of our
meetings. Our central case study will be Joseph Conrad, one of the period’s most
important authors and one of the key writers in the anglophone canon. You will
be asked to read four of his novels in their entirety: Heart of Darkness
(1899), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), and The
British writers of the Romantic period felt that they were living through revolutionary times. These revolutions ranged from changes in the aesthetic and cultural realm to deep social and political ruptures. Taken together, they shaped the Romantics’ understanding of themselves as quintessentially ‘modern’. The American, French, Haitian and industrial revolutions – to name only a few – profoundly affected the way Britain saw itself and the world around it, and they in turn inspired great changes in British poetry, drama, and fiction. Through the works of Blake, Byron, Hazlitt, Keats, Mary and Percy Shelley, Wordsworth, and others, readers came across bold new ideas about democracy, tyranny, economics, celebrity, and the unprecedented power of public opinion. We will read a range of literary works from the period, and you will also be asked to study scholarly articles for some of our meetings. In our closing session(s) we will consider the ways in which Romanticism has shaped critical views of artistic creativity and ‘the literary’.
This lecture course offers an overview of the literary history of the British Isles from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. We will focus on the development of literary forms and genres, as well as on the emergence of new sets of thematic concerns from one (literary) period to the next. Attention will also be paid to literature’s interactions with, responses to, and influences on its surrounding socio-cultural contexts. The lecture course is an obligatory part of the ”Basismodul Literaturwissenschaft” and hence is aimed at beginners. Course materials (including short readers) will be made available electronically and uploaded to GRIPS.
This lecture course offers a survey of English literature and culture during the period now known as early modernity (c.1500-1688). The period between Henry VIII’s accession to the throne and the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw significant historical developments whose effects are still with us today. These radically ‘modern’ developments range from the Reformation, the dissemination of Renaissance humanism, and the scientific revolution to the growth of print culture, new visions of political governance, and increased global mobility. Taken together these tectonic shifts helped spark new forms of textual production, and they gave rise to remarkable literary achievements. Our lecture course explores a wide range of literary, historical, and visual sources. Genres to which we will pay particular attention include: history plays; Elizabethan revenge tragedies; city comedies; domestic tragedies; Jacobean drama; utopian writing; travel literature; scientific writing; philosophical essays; sermons; satires; epic romance; sonnets; pastoral poetry; and metaphysical poetry. Please note: the lecture course is accompanied by an optional tutorial!
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