Georgetown University English 092 (Fall 2012) Literary History II professor Brian Hochman



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Georgetown University

English 092 (Fall 2012)

Literary History II

Professor Brian Hochman
email: bh296@georgetown.edu office: New North 324 (T 1:30-4:00)

This introductory course examines British, U.S., and global Anglophone literary history from the late-eighteenth century to the near present. Instead of proceeding chronologically and attempting to survey the literary-historical field comprehensively, we will read across time to reflect on three major themes that claim a special hold on the literary enterprise during this period: 1) the histories and legacies of slavery and colonialism; 2) the modern self and its relationship to language, culture, and society; and 3) the workings of human history and memory. Along the way, we will consider some of the primary historical and cultural developments of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries that literature in English both responded to and helped shape: industrialization and modernization; the consolidation and spread of global capitalism; slavery, colonialism, and empire; war and revolution; the emergence and fragmentation of national literary and cultural traditions; and the dissemination of the English language around the globe. Our readings will include works by William Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Marilynne Robinson, and Edward P. Jones—among many others.
Required Texts (available at the GU Bookstore):
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Broadview; make certain you purchase the 1818 edition)

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Bedford/St. Martins)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Penguin)

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Harcourt)

William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (Vintage)

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (Plume)

Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sozaboy (Longman)

Edward P. Jones, The Known World (Amistad)

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (Picador)

selected poems/essays/novellas – I will provide these in PDF form (marked by [*] below)



Course Objectives/Requirements


Learning Goals:
This course has three main objectives. Over the course of the semester students who take this class should expect…



  1. to gain a working knowledge of major themes, movements, and styles in the history of British, U.S., and global Anglophone literature from the Romantic period to the present, as well a basic understanding of the cultural contexts out of which they emerged;




  1. to understand the contested nature of literary history, an intellectual field that writers, critics, and historians have made and unmade over time;




  1. to experiment with techniques of close reading and critical engagement that are central to the discipline of English in its present configuration.

Please note that in addition to serving as a foundations Literary History survey in the English major, this course is one of several Doyle Fellowship courses offered at Georgetown during the 2012-2013 academic year. The purpose of the Doyle Fellowship is to raise awareness of diversity issues on campus, and to deepen the commitment among faculty and students to promote engagement with difference within the regular academic curriculum. I will say more about the Doyle program as we proceed this semester, but please note that it requires students to write an ungraded 1-2 page reflection essay at the end of the term.





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