English and American Literature S-141
The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self4 units
During the eighteenth century, as traditional ways of interpreting the world came under energetic attack, writers in Britain, France, and Germany brilliantly explored the ways in which the self can be seen as a product of social conditioning, fragmentary and artificial, and yet also as a fundamental core of stable personality. After a brief look at philosophical analyses by Descartes and Hume, the course will focus on memorable narrative works including Boswell's London Journal, Rousseau's Confessions, Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist, Laclos' Liaisons Dangereuses, and Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther; a final section will consider the anti-Enlightenment critique of romantic poets Wordsworth and Blake.
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