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The "Modern" 18th Century: Science, Consumer Culture, Individuality, and Enlightenment
ENGL 263
Spring 2012
Section: 01  

Eighteenth-century England was changing rapidly: Isaac Newton discovered gravity; Adam Smith explained the WEALTH OF NATIONS; John Locke endorsed democratic governments, and Voltaire and David Hume celebrated the power of the human mind. Indeed, it is often said that 18th-century England was a crucial birthplace for science, consumer culture, the liberal individual, and enlightenment--for the modern world itself. This class will read key texts of this process of modernization (by the likes of Newton and Locke) as literature, but we will also attend to the literary reaction--texts celebrating, condemning, satirizing, or simply trying to make sense of these changes. Throughout, we will seek both the presence and the limits of the "modern" in the period. Sometimes weirdly backwards-looking ideas unpredictably jostle up against the seemingly progressive: exuberantly pious devotions punctuate serious science and economics, and strikingly unfamiliar assumptions about the individual influence political, philosophical, and literary thought. What was--and wasn't--"modern" about the 18th century, and how can this key modernizing moment help us better understand our world today?

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation, Writing
This is a writing intensive course that develops students' skills in literary interpretation.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Brit Lit)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-16-2014
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