Saturday, July 22, 2006

British Literature II Overview Transcript

Podcast

Beth Ritter-Guth: Hi my name is Beth Ritter-Guth. I teach full time at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, PA. This is an introductory podcast to English 211, British Literature II at Lehigh-Carbon Community College This is a six-week summer course offered online, and what I'd like to do in this space is to talk a little bit about the works we'll be reading and the themes we will be discussing.


We are going to start off this semester by doing a brief overview of British literary history, from Beowulf until where we're going to start, which is in the British Romantic period. We're going to start this semester by reading Jane Austen's Emma even though that's out of place chronologically. I think it's a good way to start the semester because we can do some work with video and talk about themes. One of the themes we will be talking about through the entire session is the role of women and the definition of women and how it changes. As I think I mentioned in my WebCT biography, my area of expertise is in women's literature and women's studies, so while we won't focus exclusively on that in this course, it will be a big part of it because that is what I know most about. We will talk about other themes like war. We will be discussing the strife between England and Ireland. We'll be talking about the Great War, and World War II, up through the Gulf War and England's current activity abroad. Those are some of the things we are going to discuss. We are going to talk about the Industrial Revolution and the impact that had on the culture of England. We are also going to talk about the shift of the monarchy system to a more democratic system and what that has culturally done to England since the Romantic period. That's where we are going to start. We're going to talk first about Jane Austen just because I think it's a good place to start. We're going to be reading, "Emma," and you will have the opportunity to watch the movie for extra credit, and we'll talk about manners and customs that exist in the book, and are exemplified further in the movie.


We are going to move from there to talk about the American Romantic period, rather, the British Romantic period. We're going to start out with a discussion of the sublime, the beautiful and the picturesque. We'll be reading some materials by Edmund Burke and I will be talking about, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" which is available in its full form in our bookstore, but we'll just be reading parts of it and you will have access to that on the web. We will talk Anna Letitia Barbauld and her work with the poor. We're going to talk about Charlotte Smith. We're going to move from there to talk about the rights of men in the revolution. When we begin our discussion there is a lot going on with England and with France, and with a lot of different countries. We are going to talk about the French Revolution because it does have a great impact on England. We are going to talk about, "The Rights of Man" by Thomas Paine and the role of women in Mary Washington Craft's, "The Vindication of the Rights of Women." We'll talk about William Godwin; that was Mary Washington Craft's partner and then husband, in, "About Politics."


Then we'll move on to talk about justice. From there we're going to focus on an author. We're going to focus on William Blake, one of the great romantic authors. He is revolutionary because he writes about all religions being one. There is no natural religion. It is pretty controversial. We are going to look his "Songs of Innocence and Experience." They're very interesting. You may have heard of, "The Chimneysweeper." That's often read in American high schools, and perhaps you've heard of, "The Marriage and Hell," which we'll also discuss.


We're going to talk a little bit about Robert Burns. He's the author of the poem, "Auld Lang Syne," which everyone sings at new years. We're going to talk about his poem, "A Red Red Rose."


We'll move from there to talk about William Wordsworth. He wrote a lot of different things, but you may have heard of, "We are Seven" or, "The World is Too Much With Us." We'll also talk about, "The Prelude" and, "Lyrical Ballads." We're going to talk about his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth and her "Grasmere Journals," and her "Address to a Child."


From there we're going to move onto one of my great favorites Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote, "The Rhyme of an Ancient Mariner," "Cristobel," and, "Kubla Khan." If we have time we'll talk a little bit about his, "Biographia Literaria."


We'll move from him on to George Gordon Lord Byron. He is famous for having a cleft foot and also for poetry like, "She Walks in Beauty Like the Night," "Child Harold," and, "Don Juan." He wrote about the Byronic hero in Manfred. He wrote, "Vision of Judgment," which we'll be reading.


We'll be reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. That's an incredible work as she is the mother of modern horror. Her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelly, who is famous for writing, "Prometheus Unbound." Then we're going to talk about Percy Shelly's, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" and, "The Mask of Anarchy."


We're going to talk about a little known author Felicia Hemans. She wrote three very interesting, a lot of very interesting things, but we're going to read, "The Last Banquet of Anthony and Cleopatra," "An Evening Prayer at a Girl's School," and, "The Graves of a Household." Interesting texts, and pretty new to the literary cannon.


Then we're going to talk about John Keats, who is my all time favorite British poet. We're going to talk about a lot of different things he wrote, but some things you may have heard of: "Ode on a Grecian Urn." We're going to focus on his, "Letters to Fannie Brawn," his long time love unrequited.


Then we'll move from the Romantic period to the Victorian age. We'll talk about Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle. We'll talk about John Stewart Mill. He wrote some interesting stuff called "Subjection of Women," "Statement of the Repudiation of Husbands," "The Rights of Husbands." An interesting piece.


We're going to move from him to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She wrote "Sonnets for the Portuguese," and her famous poem "How Do I Love Thee" is often confused as a Shakespearian sonnet, so we'll be talking about that.


We'll be talking about Alfred Lord Tennyson. If you had me for British Literature I, you had the opportunity to read and listen to, "The Lady of Shalott." We'll do that again.


We're going to talk a little about Charles Darwin and the impact that he has on sociopolitical movements of the time. We'll talk about his work on, "The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection." We're going to focus on the portion called the struggle for existence and we're going to talk about his sketch of an infant.


We're going to be talking about Robert Browning who wrote, "A Woman's Last Word," and, "Love Among the Ruins," among other things.


We'll talk a little more about Charles Dickens and his view of the Industrial Revolution especially as it is exemplified in the Christmas Carole. We are not going to read, "A Christmas Carole," but I am sure you have seen the movie or at least heard of it.


We're going to talk about the Bronte sisters. We're going to talk about George Elliot, who is actually a woman. She wrote, "Middle March."


We're going to talk about Queen Victoria. She wrote a lot in her letters and journals about the position of women, so we're going to talk about her.


We're going to talk about Matthew Arnold who wrote some interesting stuff called, "Culture and Anarchy." Within "Culture and Anarchy," he talks about sweetness and life, and doing as one likes. Good stuff to read.


We're going to read, from Dante Gabriel Rosette a piece called, "The House of Life," and from Christine Rosette, some interesting information from her.


We're going to talk about a little know writer William Morris. He wrote a piece called, "The Defense of Guinevere." If you had Brit Lit I with me earlier this summer you'll, remember the tradition that we talked about there.


We're going to talk about Lewis Carroll. All of you know him for writing "Alice in Wonderland," which the actual title is, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." We're going to read "Jabberwocky."


Then we're going to talk about theme of the invention of childhood because there is a shift between the expectations of children of being little adults to being actual creative developing humans. Within that theme we are going to talk about Beatrix Potter. I'm sure all of you are familiar with Peter Rabbit at least in concept. Then we are going to talk about mora
l tales: "The Mouse and the Cake," "Willy Winky," and, "The Owl and the Pussy Cat."


We're going to talk about some works from Rudyard Kipling and we're going to read a piece called, "Without Benefit of Clergy."


We're going to move from there to talk about Robert Lewis Stevenson. All of you probably don't know he is the author of, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."


We're going to talk about Oscar Wild and Lord Alfred Douglas who wrote some interesting pieces called, "Two Loves" and, "In Praise of Shame."


We're going to move from there into the 20th century, where we talk about Joseph Conrad who wrote, "The Heart of Darkness."


We're going to talk about Thomas Hardy and Rebecca West who wrote a piece called, "Indissoluble Matrimony."


We're going to talk about William Butler Yates who wrote some meditations during the time of the Civil War and, "Crazy Jane Talks with a Bishop."


We're going to talk about EM Forester.


We're going to talk about James Joyce who is famous for Euless's but writes some other interesting and longer pieces. We're going to read Finnegan's Wake.


Then were going to move on to TS Elliot, an amazing author who wrote "The Love Song of J. Alfred Proof Rock" and, "The Waste Land."


Then we're going to checkout Virginia Wolf who wrote, "A Room of One's Own."


Catherine Mansfield, We'll talk a little about her.


DH Lawrence, Gram Green and we're going to look at some of the speeches of Winston Churchill.


We're going to talk about George Orwell, and Dylan Thomas who wrote, "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night."


We're going to talk about Samuel Becket, WH Audin, and Stevie Smith, who writes an interesting piece called, "How Cruel is the Story of Eve."


We're going to move from Stevie Smith into a piece by Philip Orken called, "Talking in Bed," which is quite interesting.


We're going to talk about SW Plath and Lady Lazarus, Ted Hughes, and Salman Rushdie.


We're going to finish the course with Shamus Haney and Evan Boland. A piece called Anorexic.


Within the course we are going to talk about the themes of women and children, the themes of war and the shift from a monarchal rule and the rule of the people, and we're going to talk about relations between religion and the state.


I look forward to this semester. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. We have a lot of things to read. If you made it through Brit Lit I where we covered a lot more information in that course, this course will probably seem like it is going at a slower pace. It is quite a bit of reading and a lot is expected of you. All of the information you need for this is located on the course wiki, and you can just follow along for each week. All your papers and assignments will be submitted in WebCT so I can grade it. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask my phone number is (610) 799-1717 and my email is eguth@lccc.edu. Thanks.


Transcription by CastingWords

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