Fall 2010

Romanticism and the Enlightenment


Ute Brandes (Section 01)
Allen Guttmann (Section 02)


The late eighteenth century is often characterized as the Age of Enlightenment, a time when educated men and women were confident that human reason was sufficient to understand the laws of nature, to improve society’s institutions, and to produce works of the imagination surpassing those of previous generations (and rivalling those of classical antiquity).  The early nineteenth century brought a distrust of rationality (the Head) and an affirmation of the importance of human emotion (the Heart).  “Romanticism and the Enlightenment” will test these broad generalizations by reading, looking at, and listening to some representative verbal, visual, and musical texts.  Among the texts are paired and opposed works by Samuel Johnson, John Keats, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Jacques Louis David, and Eugène Delacroix.  In dealing with these and other diverse texts, no special skills are required and all are welcome.

Although there will be several lectures for which all sections will meet together, the course is basically a series of discussions in which everyone is expected to participate (although it is understood that some students will probably speak more often than others).  The assumption of the course is that the ability to express yourself by speaking is almost as important as  the ability to express yourself by writing.  It is also assumed that for all of us, including the faculty, there is room for improvement.  There will be three or four short papers (approximately four pages each) and a longer paper that will serve as a take-home final exam.  The discussions and the papers will ask students to engage intellectually and emotionally with the assigned texts.

Fall semester.  Professors Brandes and Guttmann.

If Overenrolled: This course is being offered as a first-year seminar.


2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010