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You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.
All students must take six credits but the courses may be selected as follows.
Insanity and Imagination in London (3 credits)- ENGL402, 199 or 499 taught by Mary Miles (select one)
"We of the craft are all crazy," Lord Byron said of himself and his fellow British Romantic poets. Creativity and madness have often walked hand-in-hand among the most prominent of London's intellectuals. Did groundbreaking thinkers and artists such as Charles Darwin, Virginia Wolfe, C. S. Lewis, and even J.K. Rowling create despite the challenges of mental illness? Or, did their dances with insanity actually generate new avenues of innovation? This course makes extensive use of the London location to analyze the roles of mental illness and psychology in the creative processes of 18th-20th century British thinkers. We will explore sites of psychological importance, such as Bedlam and the Freud Museum, while also examining the homes and haunts of those whose struggles with mental illness were often entwined with their efforts to write and think in novel ways.
Potential Topics and Sites: Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Helena Blavatsky, Virginia Wolfe, Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud (Center for Child Psychology), Charles Darwin, C. S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, T.S. Eliot, J.K. Rowling, James Barrie; history of British psychology, psychical research, and parapsychology; visits to the British Museum, Psychological Association, Oxford, Cambridge, homes and archives; British modernity and mental illness.
Avant-garde Movements in London (3 credits) - ENGL 455, 199 or 499 taught by Matthew Weber (select one)
“On or about December 1910, human character changed,” wrote Virginia Woolf in her essay “Modern Fiction.” This famous declaration alludes to an upheaval in a medium other than writing: England’s first exhibit of Post-Impressionist painting, something that previously didn’t even have a name. In the same spirit of newness, this course will immerse us in a new place, and in various versions of “the new” that have come to exemplify British modernism. Although “modernism” serves as an umbrella term for a lot of writers who experimented and broke boundaries all over the globe, the avant-garde movements out of London alone are extremely diverse.
While we explore the vast collections of Post-Impressionist visual art in London’s museums, we will also read examples from Imagism and Vorticism, two (mostly) literary avant-garde movements, along with manifestoes from those movements and others. Our survey will send us into the archives of modernism and its “little magazines,” where we will bear witness to the circulation of polemic and experimentalism among tight-knit—and often quarrelsome—groups of artists and intellectuals during a crucial moment in aesthetic history. The course will conclude with a look at one contemporary avant-garde collective, Tom McCarthy’s International Necronautical Society, who are very weird and funny and obsessed with death (see necronauts.org). Students will give presentations about found objects and write their own manifestoes.
Artists and Writers: Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, H. D., Wyndham Lewis, Mina Loy, F. T. Marinetti, George Orwell, Tom McCarthy.
Excursions: Monk’s House (Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell); the Courtauld Gallery (Impressionism and Post-Impressionism); Tate Modern (Vorticism, propaganda); the British Library (Little Magazines, Orwell’s propaganda collection); an array of contemporary art galleries (TBD).
Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.
Successful applicants will complete pre-requisities for the program
All students must hold a passport which is valid until six months after the last day of the program (or date of return to U.S if students is extending travel)