Jan 29, 2023  
College Catalog 2014-2015 
    
College Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENGL 277 - Angels and Demons of the American Renaissance (1835-1880)


As the United states lurched toward murderous civil war, a group of passionate, visionary, and bizarre artists set out to discover the soul of America. From 1850 to 1855, in one of the most astonishing creative convergences in literary history, the artists of what would come to be known as the American Renaissance wrote stories and poems that would enlighten, thrill, and terrify generations of readers. With aesthetic wonder and philosophical insight, they revealed both the angels and demons of human nature, inventing a uniquely American spiritual movement of unprecedented optimism at the same time that they damned it all to hell. Their works were spiritual and blasphemous, elegant and profance, beatific and pornographic, irreverently comic and heartwrenchingly sentimental. Everything that was written in America after this period would, in one way or another, have to come to terms with the brilliant and disturbing achievements of this small cluster of artists. In this course we will read texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. Offered yearly. (4 Credits)