Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature
Nobodies and Somebodies: Equality, Statistics, and Democratic Politics and Poetics in the Nineteenth Century
We will read a selection of nineteenth-century French, British, and American novels, short stories, and poems (and one novel from the early twentieth century), along with a range of critical writings as we examine questions that were pressing then, and remain so now: what does it mean to think of people as equal? how do we imagine democracy? what does it mean to belong to a social world and to try to reform it? how are these questions built into literary works? how does an experience of literary form contribute to ways of understanding different political and social worlds and to ways of imagining what equality might be? Authors include Tocqueville, Hawthorne, Eliot, Baudelaire, Trollope, Whitman, Melville, and Cather.