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ENGL 4013 Solitary Geniuses: Writing Communities in the Transatlantic 19th Century (Spring: 3 )

Course Description

“Solitary Geniuses;” Writing Communities in the Transatlantic 19th Century explores the cult of literary genius in the British and American Romantic movements. Poets and writers, like William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson, are often depicted and discussed as solitary thinkers, wanderers alone in nature and gifted with extraordinary artistic ability. However, both artists were deeply connected and reliant on other writers, thinkers, and artists. Almost every reclusive sage was actively part of the life and culture of their time and country. How did this myth of the Romantic loner originate? How did these authors – as well as Thoreau, Coleridge, the Bronte sisters, and others – mindfully shape this persona? How has literary criticism refined and propelled this figure? And what can we learn from the intermediary realms between “solitary genius” and “social figure?” in regards to not only Romantic writing, but as well to imagination and creative thought at large.

Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Emma Hammack

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement

Last Updated: 24-Jun-17