English 241, 241H: The Text in Its Historical Moment
4 hrs 4 crs; Prereq or Coreq: English 170W
This course explores the relationship between texts and their historical circumstances, addressing the question of how literary works are enmeshed in their material, economic, social, and political conditions. The course examines how we define and reconstruct historical moments, and the various ways in which we interpret texts in relation to their moments. Readings include a wide range of kinds of material, including texts traditionally considered literary or imaginative and those traditionally considered documentary or factual, as well as other cultural objects like films or works of material culture. The course focuses on at least two historical moments and includes material from before 1800 and after 1800, as well as material from at least two national literatures.