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Archive for September, 2015

This week, we start the first of a several part series on the industrial revolution. We begin to leave behind the semi-pastoral world seen at the end of the 18th century, and start to progress to the mechanical, disconcerting, modernist age. For our readings and lectures, we will start with the brute facts of the […]

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Last week we discussed the rise and fall of Napoleon, the cultural reaction to the Revolution’s excesses, and the general way in which the Revolution reflected dichotomous sides of promise and catastrophe. This week begins a new phase of the course, and a new phase of European history: the post-Revolutionary world from 1815 onwards. As […]

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Some quick hits in the headlines this week, some historical beverage news related to our recent discussions: Like coffee? Thank Goethe!! Green tea: The original Reefer Madness. “For most of the 19th century, there was less concern about the perils of taking cocaine than there was about the negative side effects of drinking green tea,” writes Matthew Sweet […]

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I came across this book review of one of our authors – Mary Shelley, who is the subject of a new biography. Or rather, we could say that the biography has another subject, one of the women whose modern work on Shelley was critical to Shelley’s resurgent reputation in high culture and academic analysis. After […]

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As with any primary source, we need to consider it as a product of its times. And that means as a product of the author’s engagement with those times. We did that well for Chateaubriand and the French Revolution, now we can do it again with Shelley and Frankenstein, in a post-Revolutionary context. But of […]

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Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, the founding figure of French Romantic literature, had a correspondingly stormy life. His family background was tumultuous and even scandalous, his experiences during the Revolution were traumatic, and even his later successes in life were not without emotional turmoil. As you know by now, that all just makes a better Romantic writer. […]

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This week we round off the opening section of the course, keeping a foot firmly in the transition from 18th to 19th century but looking toward the future as the effects of the French Revolution move forward. For the final ingredient of this delicious introductory stew, we’re going to look this week at art, poetry, […]

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You may have already noticed that the 19th century is very hot right now. Every day there are new articles in the media, new shows and films come out that are set in that era (or parodying it, or adding zombies to it). People seem interested in it as never before. Some people are apparently […]

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Well this is interesting… from academic blog Crooked Timber: Yesterday I chanced to read a story from 1850, The Three Visits, by one Auguste Vitu. It is in a collection of, broadly speaking, ghost stories: The Macabre Megapack: 25 Lost Tales From The Golden Age. It is free to Amazon Prime members, and 99 cents […]

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If you’ve had time to tour the neighborhood of SCS headquarters, you might have noticed the Goethe Institut just two blocks away. That’s the German government’s most high-profile, worldwide institution of culture and language, offering an array of classes, performances, film screenings, and other cultural events (some of which will be worth attending this semester! […]

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