COMP 327
Romanticism, Belatedly Fall 2022
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ENGL 324 / COMP 327

Class Details

What is Romanticism? Instead of searching for an answer at the movement’s supposed point of origin (1790-1830, in Germany, England, and France), we will begin in early twentieth-century South Asia. In the nineteenth century, English Romantic poetry and, to a lesser extent, ethico-political and aesthetic ideas associated with German Idealism circulated in South Asia as part of a colonial education aimed at producing “a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect” (Macaulay). The intentions of this plan of education aside, it unwittingly opened channels for literary, philosophical, and political exchange that were harmful to colonial rule, and essential to how we understand worlds of literature today. Behind the backs of its homegrown, self-anointed inheritors, Romanticism in the “colonies” led multiple other lives and was transformed in encounters that must–belatedly–be read back into its originary texts. Hence, in counter-chronological fashion, in this class we will begin with important postcolonial works by Faiz Ahmad Faiz (Urdu), Suryakant Tripathi Nirala (Hindi), Mahadevi Verma (Hindi), Sarojini Naidu (English), Mohammad Iqbal (Urdu and Persian), and Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali), to move on to Karl Marx and Heinrichs Heine (German), Charles Baudelaire (French), and George Eliot (English), to end with John Keats (English), William Wordsworth (English), and G.W.F. Hegel (German). In considering these texts with an eye to poetics and interpretation, we will pay close attention to concepts that they bring to the fore, key among them “belatedness” (Nachtr├Ąglichkeit), “allegory”, “critique,” “non-identity.” We will read non-English language texts in translation, though we will have occasion to discuss originals.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1963
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: One mid-term essay (10 pages), one presentation (15 mins), one final paper (15 pages)
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English majors, then sophomores considering the major
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 324 Division I COMP 327 Division I
DPE Notes: This course examines how the political impact of colonization upon both Europe and South Asia gets expressed in literary productions of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. It explores the way these literary works understand the axes of social identity that shape oppression and inequity--coloniality, race, caste, gender--as constitutive of the unevenly developing world of capitalism. The concepts upon which the course focuses are essential to contemporary social critique.
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories B

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