ENG 545/ COM 544

Special Studies in the 18th Century – Literature and the Early Enlightenment, 1650-1760

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What is Enlightenment? And when, if at all, did Enlightenment happen? In this course we approach these familiar and crucial questions with an eye to literary forms and fabulae, tracing how poetry, tragedy, and novels participate in the work of biblical exegesis, theology, natural philosophy, and emancipatory political though–that is, the common terrain of Enlightenment philosophy and administration. We examine inventive investigations of enthusiasm and priestcraft, speculative anthropologies that posit worlds before Adam and Eden, and philosophical works that traverse genres, exacting new and exciting forms of fiction.

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