Summer Session 1

 English 387 (3835) MTWTH 1:00pm-3:40pm, KY 323: Maerhofer

Revolutionary Lives

What does it mean to commit to a revolutionary life? How do authors, filmmakers and intellectuals negotiate questions of radical politics and resistance via writing and other forms of cultural production? What do the lives of past revolutionaries tell us about political struggle in our contemporary world? This course will investigate these and other critical questions to understand the history of radical thought and activism from the 1960’s to the present. Primary works will include: Assata Shakur’s Assata, Nadine Gordimer’s Burger’s Daughter, and Mona Prince’s Revolution Is My Name: An Egyptian Woman's Diary from Eighteen Days in Tahrir; secondary readings by Amilcar Cabral, Mao Tse-tung, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Henry Giroux; films will include Uli Edel’s The Baader-Meinhof Complex, Steve McQueen’s Hunger, and Hany Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now.

 Summer L2

English 323-01 (3896) MTWTH 10:00am-11:30am Queens Hall 250: Wang

British Romanticism


The spirit of revolution inspired and animated the British Romantic movement.  The French Revolution of 1789 was viewed as the epochal event of that generation, not only because of its political and social impact on Europe, but because it was regarded as a sign of the fulfillment of a scriptural and historical destiny for all of humanity. The revolution in the American colonies and the rapidly advancing revolution in culture, social order, and economics of the Industrial age reaffirmed the belief that a fundamental and radical transformation was imminent. The Romantics believed that this change would reawaken and reenergize a soulless, emotionally and imaginatively deadened society, which was increasingly predicated on a rational materialist mode of thinking. They envisioned themselves as remakers of a world where the philosophical and religious foundations were dissolving. They wanted to reestablish a new foundation, based not on the dominant ideas of rational empiricism of the eighteenth century, but instead on the revitalizing and transcendent power of feeling, intuition, and imagination.

            In this course, we will attempt to understand the extraordinary literary achievement of this period by closely analyzing a wide selection of poetry and prose. Much of the course will focus on the works of the six traditionally canonical poets: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. Alongside these six poets, we will also take a considerable look at some of the important female writers of the period such as Joanna Bailie, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Felicia Dorothea Hemans. We will see how the works of these writers express a uniquely Romantic vision of humanity, nature, and artistic creation which has reverberated through and influenced the artistic consciousness of the West for the past two and half centuries.