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Archive for the ‘weekly readings’ Category

We’re going to finish the course with another of my all-time favorite books to teach. Heart of Darkness is not long, but it is dense, intense, and has impacted literary history far beyond its short length. You may have even encountered the story before, filtered through other media!) So who is the mind behind this […]

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As our lens into the conflicted era at the end of the century, we’re going to look at the most important and divisive political controversy, the Dreyfus Affair in France. For our main reading on this, use the web site on the Affair made by the French Ministry of Culture. It’s sort of like an online […]

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We talk a lot in this class about a pendulum of reason and emotion, rationality and irrationality, Romanticism and Enlightenment or industrialism. That’s a pattern in all human history, but one that is especially prominent in our period. As we near the end of the century, we can observe several competing trends all coming together […]

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For our session this week, we will discuss issues of gender, the family, and women’s (dis)empowerment during the era of high bourgeois culture. The industrialized and fully capitalist societies in northwestern Europe (primarily Britain, France, the low countries, Germany, Scandinavian countries) by the mid to late 19th century were basking in the confidence of increasingly […]

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This week’s “readings” are more like “listenings.” Music played a powerful role in 19th century nationalism, and this week we are going to consider how. In one way, we’ll use music as a stand-in for a whole variety of cultural products: novels, plays, poems, songs, and all. So how would culture influence nationalism? Consider the […]

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So now let’s get to the specter…. Utopian socialism had apparently failed. So had the liberals’ attempts in an array of European countries to establish liberal democracies. Both those ideas would still be tried for a long time, but repeated failure had hardened many peoples’ hearts against them. They wanted more direct action. That’s when […]

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We began our discussion of the Industrial Revolution with one foot still in the past:  Shelley’s romantic (or anti-romantic) writings. But the Revolution was above all a time of looking forward to new ways of making things, new forms of social organization, and new problems to face. We now come fully into the age of […]

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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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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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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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