Feb 01, 2023  
College Catalog 2014-2015 
College Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENGL 272 - Love and Madness in Nineteenth Century American Literature

Our common vocabulary of love presents it as a force that strikes and knocks down its victims. It comes like a fever and it disables cognition. Lovers “fall,” they are “smitten,” “head over heels,” “crazy” for each other. Love is both mania and obsession, both a euphoria that alters one’s view of the world as a whole and an exclusion of the whole world, a radical narrowing of our normally capacious imaginative and perceptual faculties down to the simplest and smallest of human frames: a face, or the sound of a voice. For American authors of the 18th and 19th century, love and madness were twinned sites of altered consciousness that represented the radical “others” of Enlightenment reason, psychic parallels to and extensions of the wilds of the New World and the uncontrollable crowds and freedoms of the new democracy. This course will examine love and madness from multiple perspectives, including the Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment, gender and sexuality, the American Gothic, violence, and sin. Authors will range from Benjamin Franklin and the Marquis de Sade to Edgar Allan Poe and Kate Chopin. (4 credits)  (4 Credits)