AU: 3.0
Programme: ELH(HSS)

Throughout the 'long eighteenth century', Britain was regarded not only as a land of liberty and opportunity, but also as a nation of eccentrics whose works challenged, and helped to change, the intellectual, cultural, social and political norms prevalent in Europe at the time. This module explores a selection of issues that define the age of sensibility and romanticism and left lasting implications. These include: the coming-of-age of the personal and the critical essay; a new interest in the relation between the individual and society; a passion for travel and the delight in playfully exploring 'otherness'; the rise of an obsession with nation, landed property and designer goods; a fascination with the past and tradition, and the revaluation of Shakespeare; the absorption with the self, and the development of a culture of sensibility; the extension of education to women; the discovery of childhood; the relation between enlightenment thinking and political radicalism; and, especially, the gradual emergence, from early journalism to the Gothic novel, of a literature that investigates both social conscience and the inner life of the individual. We shall trace and discuss these issues as they express themselves in a selection of poems, prose works, and novels, as well as in other forms of cultural expression such as painting, architecture, landscape gardening, and costume.