RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS2306 HISTORY OF CRITICISM

MODULE TWO: EARLY MODERN / ROMANTIC THOUGHT
 

WEEK FIVE: EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY  (c.1600 - c.1785):
(Week of October 4)
 

REQUIRED READINGS:

 

 

LECTURE 1:
Rationalism v. Empiricism
Notes:
LECTURE 2:
Empiricism Continued & Kant
Notes:
TUTORIAL:

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

PHILWEB RESOURCES:

COMMENTS:
 
  • This week we begin Module 2 by jumping over several hundred years of intellectual and literary history (including the Medieval and Renaissance periods) in order to focus on the so-called early modern period and, in particular, the philosophical debate between Continental Rationalism (epitomised by René Descartes, but represented also by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Baruch Spinoza), on the one hand, and British Empiricism (epitomised by John Locke, but represented as well by George Berkeley and David Hume).  Notwithstanding important differences between these two camps (the former are rationalists and as such believe that at least some of our ideas are pre-given, while the latter are empiricists who are of the view that all our ideas are derived from our experiences), they have in common a broadly scientific (or rationalist, in the broadest sense of this word) world view that prioritises the reason over other mental functions and science over literature.
  • Note that there are two sources for the Required Readings in the case of each of the thinkers listed: in the case of Descartes, for example, the first link takes you to an online source for the Meditations as a whole, while the following two links take you to PDFs (hosted on this website) of particular extracts which you should at least read.  This pattern continues for most/all the Required Readings that follow.

WEEK SIX: NEOCLASSICAL LITERARY THEORY
(Week of October 11)
 

REQUIRED READINGS:

 

 

LECTURE 1: Notes:
LECTURE 2:
  • Samuel Johnson Selections:
    • "On Fiction" Rambler 4 [March 31, 1750] (pp. 317-319 in Adams; pp. 462-466 in Leitch)
    • The History of Rasselas: Chapter X" [1759] (pp. 319-320 in Adams; pp. 466-467 in Leitch)
    • Preface to Shakespeare [1765] (pp. 320-327 in Adams; pp. 468-480 in Leitch)
Notes:
TUTORIAL:

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

PHILWEB RESOURCES:

COMMENTS:
 
  • Our attention this week turns away from broader philosophical issues (not least the nature of knowledge) and towards literary theory.  Our focus is on the views, inspired by the scientism discussed last week, of Pope (who is arguable influenced by the tenets of Rationalism per se) and Johnson (arguably more influenced by Empiricism).

WEEK SEVEN: ROMANTICISM (c.1785 - c.1830)
(Week of October 18)
 

REQUIRED READINGS:

 

 

LECTURE 1:
  • Johann Gottfried von Herder Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Man [1784-1891]: see extract, pp. 35-49 in Theories of History, ed. Patrick Gardiner
  • Wilhelm von Humboldt "From Collected Works" [1796-1836] (pp. 486-491 in Adams)
Notes:
LECTURE 2: Notes:
TUTORIAL:

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  • This

PHILWEB RESOURCES:

COMMENTS:
 
 

WEEK EIGHT: ROMANTIC LITERARY THEORY
(Week of October 25)
 

REQUIRED READINGS:

 

 

LECTURE 1:
Author
Notes:
LECTURE 2:
Literary History
Notes:
TUTORIAL:

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

  •  

PHILWEB RESOURCES:

COMMENTS:
 
 

* JSTOR: available on campus only.

END OF MODULE
 

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