Virginia Woolf's London (3 credits)- ENGL 402, 262, 199 or 499 taught by Christopher Reed (select one)
This course will take advantage of our location in Bloomsbury to explore the city and its environs from the perspective of
one of modernism’s foremost authors: Virginia Woolf. A member of the Bloomsbury Group – so called because of its members’ shared houses in our neighborhood – Woolf nurtured a lifelong love of London, as is evident in her novels, short stories, and essays. The course will also explore the London connections of Woolf’s Bloomsbury Group colleagues, in particular the artists Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, and Duncan Grant..
Readings will include Woolf’s “London Scene” essays, her novels Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando, as well as some of her diary entries, short stories and secondary scholarly literature about her relationship to the city. Drawing our inspiration from these readings, we will visit such sites in and around London as Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Kew Gardens. We will also visit sites associated with Woolf outside London, including Monk’s House and Charleston farmhouse in Sussex, and the castles of Sissinghurst and Knole.
London was, for Woolf, a repository of history and a site of constant renewal, a place to “go adventuring among human beings” and somewhere that stimulated her to write. With Woolf as our guide, we will go adventuring and writing in a London that is today, even more than her time, a – perhaps the
– vibrant center of world culture.
Monuments and Memorials: London's Rhetorics of Remembrance ENGL 455, 268, 199 or 499 taught by Jayme Peacock (select one)
What would you do to remember or be remembered? This course explores the ways authors from the Renaissance through the Victorian period sought to be remembered by the world around them, and how that world has chosen to memorialize them. We will probe different approaches to commemoration in order to understand where and how authors tried to place themselves -- via body, mind, or text -- in the scope of eternity. Readings will draw from Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Donne, Swift, Defoe, Keats, Shelley, and Tennyson, and will include poetry, prose, and drama.
London provides us with the opportunity to consider how the surrounding world has and continues to commemorate these writers. We will attend live theater productions and visit, Keats’ home in Hampstead, the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London, as well as Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Assignments for the course will include several short projects culminating in a final paper that connects readings to the class trips.
Jayme Peacock is a PhD candidate studying Early Modern literature, conceptions of immortality, and the poetics of commemoration in the works of Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton.