BA English Language and Literature options
Year 2, Component 04
(LT204-5-AU and LT267-5-SP) or LT262-5-SP
Criticism: Practice and Theory
How can texts be read and interpreted using the thinking of Marx? What about Freud or de Saussure? Or Derrida and Said? Study literature, theatre, and film using these key thinkers. Analyse their approaches both historically and institutionally, and understand the importance of theoretical and methodological material to your studies.
Desire in the Age of Enlightenment: Eighteenth Century Literature
The Enlightenment has often been considered the age of reason, or a period in which thought overcomes earlier forms of superstition or mysticism and develops empirical, scientific modes of seeking out truth. Juxtaposed against the Dark Ages, the Enlightenment would shine a new, penetrating light over all domains of concern.
While certainly a time of radical change and rigorous re-examination, this simplified picture obscures a more complicated reality. For in the effort to relegate all forms of unreason to the past, the period witnesses an intense compression of the appetites that generate something of a counter-enlightenment--something like reason's own shadow.
This module focuses on how those aspects of human experience resistant to rationalization and economization and calculation emerge in and through a range of artworks in the period after the Restoration (1660) and up to and including first-generation Romanticism (1789-1800).
It also puts an emphasis on works by a segment of the population not well represented in the texts typically associated with the Enlightenment: women. Thematically, we concentrate on how desire--visceral, unruly, conflicted--takes aesthetic form. We will analyse artworks in their historical context, which means against the backdrop of scientific, political, and philosophical works central to the Enlightenment.
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