Content Area English Target Course/Grade level

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Content Area English Target Course/Grade level 12 Unit Title - European Literature: Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century
Essential Questions: What role does nature play in eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature? How are the values of individuals versus those of society explored in eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature? How are the philosophical ideas including questions of free will, fate, human conflict and loss addressed by the authors in this unit?
Unit Overview Observing themes related to nature as well as “natural” forms and language, students consider whether nature appears as a force of good or a menace. Observing narrative digressions, idiosyncrasies, exaggerations, and biases, they consider human, unpredictable, idiosyncratic aspects of storytelling. Students will also evaluate the values of the individual versus those of society. They have the opportunity to practice some of these narrative techniques in their own fiction and nonfiction writing. Students also explore some of the philosophical ideas in the literary texts—questions of free will, fate, human conflict, and loss. In seminar discussion, students consider a philosophical question in relation to a particular text. Students write short essays and also develop an essay or topic from an earlier unit, refining the thesis and consulting additional sources. These essays can be used to inform and inspire longer research papers at the end of the unit that answer the essential question. By the end of this unit, students will have an appreciation for some of the tendencies of early Romanticism and Realism and will recognize that these eras, like all others, are filled with exceptions, contradictions, and subtleties.



Unit Learning Targets

As a result of this segment of learning, students will…

Lessons and Activities

The learning experiences that will facilitate engagement and achievement

Evidence of Learning

Formative and Summative measures


Books, articles, text, etc.




W.11-12.3 (a-e



L.11-12.2 (a-b

  • Read fiction, drama, poetry, biography, and autobiography from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

  • Consider the relationship between art and nature and societal values versus individual in these works.

  • Observe narrative digressions, idiosyncrasies, exaggerations, and biases.

  • Consider the dual role of the narrator as a character and as a storyteller.

  • Consider the role of the supernatural in the literary works read in this unit.

  • Write a story in which they practice some of the narrative devices they have observed in this unit.

  • Explore and analyze some of the philosophical ideas in the literary texts—questions of free will, fate, human conflict, and loss.

  • Consider the difference between natural and forced language.

  • Consider both the common tendencies of works of this period and the contradictions, exceptions, and outliers.

  • Participate in a seminar discussion in which a philosophical question is explored in relation to a specific text.

Suggested Activities:
Reading poetry, Oral Presentation:
Recite one of the poems in this unit from memory. Include an introduction that discusses how the poem relates to the natural world. (SL.11-12.6)
Art, Music and Media

Examine and discuss the artworks listed. How did artists of this period frame the relationship between man and nature? Where does man belong in these images—or does he even belong? What do you see in these images? Which painting do you believe would be more “typical” of the period? Which looks more romantic in style to you, and why? Do you believe these images were painted for “art’s sake,” or for a larger social purpose? (SL.11-12.1, SL.11-12.2, SL.11-12.3, SL.11-12.4, SL.11-12.5)

Reading Literature, Argumentative Writing

Based on Tolstoy’s The Bet, can a reader claim whether Tolstoy agrees or disagrees with the morality of the death penalty? Use evidence from the text to support all claims and counterclaims. (W.11-12.2)

Reading Literature, Informative Writing

Compare and contrast the themes found in The Diary of Samuel Pepys and The Life of Samuel Johnson. Do the texts share similar messages? Do they reflect elements of realism in the same way? Why or why not? Use evidence from both texts and organize in a comparative essay. Include an original, concise thesis statement. (RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.3, RL.11-12.6, W.11-12.2, SL.11-12.1, SL.11-12.6)

Research Paper:

Using specific evidence from various sources studied in this unit, write a research paper that answers one of the essential questions. Include an original, concise thesis statement to answer this essential question. (RL.11-12.1, RL.11-12.2, RI.11-12.7, W.11-12.7, W.11-12.8)

Graded class participation
Graded class discussion
Peer and Teacher critique of argumentative, informational/expository and narrative writing assignments
Peer editing
Cooperative and individual research projects and oral presentations
Announced and unannounced quizzes
Three formal analyses
Two narrative writing assignments
Two informational/expository writing assignments
Four perspectives in response to art and literature

Recitation of poetry

Glencoe Textbook
Suggested literary selections

Gulliver’s Travels by Swift

Jane Eyre by Bronte

Emma by Jane Austen

The Sufferings of Young Werther by Wolfgang Von Goethe

The Power of Darkness by Tolstoy
How Much Land does a Man Need?” by Tolstoy

The Bet” by Chekhov

War” by Pirandello

The Lorelei” by Heine

Russia 1812” from The Expiation by Hugo

The Panther” by Rilke

Auguries of Innocence” “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” (selected poems) (William Blake)

“Ode to Indolence” “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (excerpts) (John Keats)

In Memoriam A. H. H. (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

The Deserted Village” (Oliver Goldsmith)

“Tintern Abbey” “London, 1802” “The World is too Much with Us” “Ode to Intimations to Immortality” (excerpts) (William Wordsworth)

Two Memories of Sido: from Earthly Paradise by Colette

Informational Texts

The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Samuel Pepys)

The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell)

Preface to Lyrical Ballads (William Wordsworth)


The Siren by Landelle (1879)

Napoleon’s Retreat From Moscow Germany (1828)

The Remains of the Grande Armee on the Retreat from Russia (1890)

The Kitchen by Grant 1902

At Dinner by Serebryakova (1914)

Self-Portrait with Female Mask by Munch (1892)

Blue Interior by Backer (1883)

Head of a Woman by Klimt (1862)

Film adaptation A Doll’s House

Film adaptation Jane Eyre

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