HUMS 254, Literature and Philosophy, Revolution to Romanticism

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

Course Description:

This is a course on the interrelations between philosophical and literary writing beginning with the English Revolution and ending with the beginnings of Romanticism. We read major works in empiricism, political philosophy, and ethics alongside poetry and fiction in several genres. Topics include the mind/body problem, political ideology, subjectivity and gender, and aesthetic experience as they take philosophical and literary form during a long moment of historical change.

Led By:

Jonathan Kramnick's picture

Professor Jonathan Kramnick

My research and teaching is in eighteenth-century literature and philosophy, philosophical approaches to literature, and cognitive science and the arts. I am the author of three books. My new book, Paper Minds: Literature and the Ecology of Consciousness (Chicago, 2018), shortlisted for the Christian Gauss Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Association, asks what distinctive knowledge the literary disciplines and literary form can contribute to discussions of perceptual consciousness, created and natural environments, and skilled engagement with the world. Portions have appeared in Critical InquiryRepresentations, and elsewhere. Before that, Actions and Objects from Hobbes to Richardson (Stanford, 2010) considered representations of mind and material objects along with theories of action during the long eighteenth century. And before that, Making the English Canon: Print Capitalism and the Cultural Past, 1700-1770 (Cambridge, 1999) examined the role of criticism and aesthetic theory in the creation of a national literary tradition. I publish regularly in the Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere on professional issues in literary studies and continue to write and think about form and method. My current book project in the eighteenth century is on Alexander Pope, William Cowper, and the poetics of designed environments. Finally, I’m director of the Lewis Walpole Library and the editor (with Steven Pincus) of the Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History for Yale University Press.