DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH GRADUATE COURSES IN ROMANTICISM
A SAMPLE OF RECENT OFFERINGS



Romantic Performances - A. Esterhammer (cross-listed with Comparative Literature)

This course examines a range of ways in which the term "performance" operates in and around the literature of the Romantic period (ca. 1775-1835). We will examine Romantic approaches to representation and performance by studying dramatic works by Baillie, Coleridge, P. B. Shelley, and Kleist, as well as two epoch-making novels about performers: Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship Years and Staël's Corinne, or Italy. With the help of contemporary theories of performativity by Butler, Sedgwick, Turner, et al., we will examine the role, identity, and self-fashioning of the performer, both on and off stage. By examining the interplay between public performance and identity, we will consider the ways in which identity – personal, authorial, national, and gendered – is expressed and/or constructed, especially in the poetry of Byron and Letitia Elizabeth Landon.


Revolution and Deconstruction: Literature and Thought 1790-1825 - T. Rajan (cross-listed with Comparative Literature)

This course will focus on literature of the revolutionary period (Blake, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Fenwick, Hays) and its second wave in the Regency period, which we will study not through Scott and Austen but through the survival of radicalism in the work of Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Godwin once again, and Caroline Lamb. I will not be taking up the French Revolution in specifically historicist ways, but will instead approach it as an overdetermined moment in Romantic intellectual and psychic history: a moment that both shapes and dis-figures the social and political idealism of the period. Thus we will focus on a certain "restlessness of the negative" that accompanies the Romantic rethinking of problems such as justice, government and the state, the public sphere, community and society, gender relations, and historiography. The central question of the course is the relation between the French Revolution and the Enlightenment (studied here through Kant and Godwin). What limits does the traumatic event of the Revolution place on the very concept of "enlightenment"? If the Revolution marks what Lyotard calls a "darkening of [that] universalism of the Enlightenment" that persists even today in discourses of globalization, what revolutionary potential still remains in such ambiguous phenomena as trauma, fantasy, perversity, horror and the sublime? As such questions suggest, the course also explores whether something like Adorno and Horkheimer's critique of (our own) Enlightenment can already be found in Romanticism. A further aim of the course is therefore to read Romantic literature and thought through the contemporary theoretical discourses (late Marxism, late deconstruction, and psychoanalysis) that Romanticism has in certain ways made possible.


The Case History of Literature - J. Faflak

This course examines examples of the psychoanalytic case history in late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century poetry and fiction. In Studies in Hysteria (1892) Freud writes: "it still strikes me myself as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science." What the patient said, Freud came to realize, was not as important as how she said it; 'telling' was more important than analysis, so that literature overshadowed science. Reading backward from Freud's Studies and later case histories of Dora and the Wolf-Man, we will track the case history as a sub-genre of literature by focussing on two key issues: how the case history emerges between science, literature, and philosophy and how it mediates conflicts of gender, class, genre, and sexuality. Possible texts include: Godwin's Caleb Williams, Wordsworth's The Ruined Cottage, Shelley's "Julian and Maddalo," De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, Tennyson's Maud, Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe's "Murders on the Rue Morgue," Hogg's Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" and "The Lost Special." The course will read the case history primarily within the context of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory, but will encourage students to introduce other critical, theoretical, and cultural perspectives.


Nat Leach, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures


Currently working with Romanticism@Western both to help promote awareness of our inter-disciplinary endeavours within the University, through events such as the one-day conference on campus in November 2005, and to help with the organization an international research project between the University of Western Ontario and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. Responsibilities for this latter project include facilitating communications between group members, compiling an annotated bibliography on the subject of ‘The Discursive Construction of Identity in Romanticism’ and helping to organize the forthcoming workshop in Munich, scheduled for July 15-16, 2006.


Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads-D. Kneale



Romanticism, Narrative, Historiography- T. Rajan


Wordsworth in Literary History- J.D. Kneale


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