Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Age of Reason?

Enlightenment and modernity have conventionally marked the end of an era ripe with superstition, mysticism, and magic. However, with rise of objective, empiricist science in Britain came an outpouring literature concerned with the unexplainable and strange. From Gulliver's Travels to The Ancient Mariner to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the literature of modernity is littered with impossible settings, ghostly hauntings, unaccountable transformations, and characters whose magnetic power fascinates and draws you into their tales. This course will survey a broad swath of British literature from the mid-seventeenth to the turn of the 20th century, concentrating on how and why authors chose to write about the fantastic and fabulous in an age of rationality.