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Literature and Culture of 19th Century Britain: Visual Art with and against Literature

Like most practices in nineteenth-century Britain, the visual arts progressed rapidly and dramatically. Styles and schools of painting were hotly debated. Such passionate and prolific activity brought this teeming artistic culture into intense competition with poetry, prose, and other modes of writing, but it also sometimes worked in harmony with these verbal arts. In this course, we will pay substantial attention to both forms of expression and discover, through this juxtaposition, a complex view of the values and aesthetics of nineteenth-century Britain. We will look at paintings, sketches, and written texts by J.M.W. Turner, John Keats, P.B. Shelley, S.T. Coleridge, Alfred Tennyson, D.G. Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, William Holman Hunt, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Vernon, Henry James, and Amy Levy. We will also analyze illustrations in contemporaneous newspapers and periodicals for further cultural context. Requirements include one analytical paper, one research paper, quizzes and brief writing assignments, a presentation, and the creation of a wiki website.  

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