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ENGL 412 Literature of the Seventeenth Century, 1600-1660

This course explores the literary, philosophical, and political writing of the seventeenth century in connection with civil war, religious controversy, political radicalism, and scientific revolution.

Readings will include essays, treatises, dialogues, polemics, and plays by authors such as William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Aemilia Lanyer, John Donne, Rachel Speght, William Walwyn, Thomas Browne, and John Milton.

We'll also look beyond England to figures such as Marie de Gournay and Maria de Zayas. In addition to the historical events and developments mentioned above, topics of discussion will include: philosophical questions of perception and cognition; the construction and ascription of race within and beyond the boundaries of England; the evolving rhetorical strategies of early modern feminism; the longue durée of capitalist accumulation, in connection with histories of dispossession; and the emergence and transformation of the defining paradigms of political liberalism.

Finally, we'll investigate the stories recent historians and philosophers have told about the early modern past, often with the goal of explaining elements of contemporary life. What do these stories reveal, and what do they obscure? How can we deepen our understanding of our own historical moment by studying the cultural history of the seventeenth century?

0101 David Simon

Schedule of Classes
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