English 233:  Introduction to Western Humanities --
Baroque and Enlightenment
Fall 1999
Lyman Baker, Instructor
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Course Schedule

Note:  The assignments here are provisional.  In the course of the semester it may be necessary or advisable to introduce changes in either assignments or due dates or both.  Such changes will be announced in class and through the course e-mail listserv.  Students at any university should make it a habit to check their e-mail at least once a day.  As changes are announced, they will be worked into this Course Schedule as well.
Also:  Unless otherwise noted, assignments are expected to be completed before class on the dates specified.  Come to class prepared to discuss the assigned reading.  If you are doing a writing assignment, you should submit it at the beginning of class on the date it is due, so that it can be incorporated into discussion.
Page references to texts are to the texts officially ordered for our course, which are available at Claflin Books and Copies.  You are welcome to use other editions, but you will need to consult with a fellow student to convert the page references given here into the ones corresponding to the edition of your choice.  The abbreviation WH refers to Matthews and Platt, The Western Humanities (3rd Ed.)

Where are we going, where have we been?

We have just gotten acquainted with a major cultural trauma that marks the beginning of the "Early Modern Period" in Western Europe:  the Protestant Reformation split Western Christendom into two bitterly opposed camps (and continued splitting into mutually antagonistic camps itself).  These splits resulted in tremendous social violence (persecutions, civil wars, continental wars).  In important part, these conflicts reflect a profound crisis in authority:  people agreed that the ultimate authority in all things human must be God's will, but disagreed on the details of God's plan was for saving fallen man because they disagreed on what God had decreed as the secondary authority for humans to consult to discover these details -- the Church headed by God's Vicar on Earth (the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope), or Scripture alone. 

In the second quarter of our course we examined a second cultural trauma that emerged in the Early Modern Period -- the "Copernican Revolution" -- which put severe stress upon two basic premises of the traditional Christian picture of history that both Catholics and Protestants continued to share even after the schism that opened up in the 16th Century:  the doctrine of Original Sin, and the causal role of divine intervention ("advent") in historical process, and which introduced a conflict between the authority of Scripture, tradition, and religious faith on the one hand and natural human reason and empirical experience on the other.

Now we turn to a series of literary and artistic masterpieces spanning the last third of the 17th Century up to the French Revolution, which broke out a year before the last decade of the 18th Century.  The works we have chosen illustrate some of the ways these crises in traditional religious authority affected people's thinking about power and legitimacy in social relations.  Here are some of the issues we arose in the century or so after the publication of Newton's Principia

When you exit the course, you should be on a good footing to see how these issues are alive today, not only in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and India, but in the United States.  Whatever is the truth of the matter upon them, they are still the object of intense dispute.  And how they get decided, in this society or that, has immense consequences for what the power of the state gets used to encourage, permit, or suppress.  Indeed, it has much to do with the kind of human beings that the society in question will cultivate.

3 Nov (W):  Exam #2.

5 Nov (F):  Molière's Tartuffe (1664) as an expression of the Enlightenment in the context of political absolutism.

Have read for discussion the first 3 acts of Molière's play Tartuffe.  (We are reading this in the Richard Wilbur translation; see "Texts for the Course".)

There is also a Study Guide to this reading, with links to useful resources, including an outline of the first 3 acts of the play.

In class we will analyze how the opening scene is designed

8 Nov (M):  Continued discussion of Tartuffe

(1) Finish your initial reading of Tartuffe(2) When you are done (but not before), work your way through the essays on Moliere's Tartuffe as a satire on religious fanaticism and political parable in Moliere's Tartuffe.  (Ask yourself how the aspects of the play pointed to in these brief essays relate to the basic theme [crises in authority in early modern Europe].)

In class we will analyze the scene in which Orgon makes his initial appearance.

10 Nov (W):  Tartuffe, conclusion.

Review carefully (1) Act III, Scenes 6 and 7 (the aftermath of Damis' exposure of Tartuffe to his father:  pp. 259-68); (2) the opening of Act IV, Scene 3 (the dialogue between Orgon and Mariane, pp. 276-77); (3) the end of Act V, Scene 1 (Cléante's reply to Orgon:  p. 302) and the beginning of Scene 2 (Cléante's reply to Damis:  p. 303); (4) the end of Act V, Scene 7 -- the play's falling action or denouement of the play (the Officer's explanation of his surprising announcement [itself the climax of the play], Cléante's final moderating advice, and Orgon's closing words (pp. 321-26).  (5) Begin your reading of Book III of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.  (Page references are to the edition listed in our texts for the course.)  Work through Chapters 1-3 (pp. 150-71), which tell of Gulliver's visit to the island of Laputa.

There is a Study Guide to Book III.  This semester, we will be reading only up through Chapter 6, so you can need only make use of the part of the SG that covers these parts.  It would be well to read the brief biographical sketch of Swift in our edition (section II of the Introduction -- pp. 4-8).  There is somewhat more detail in the biographical sketch I've done for another course.

12 Nov (F):  The Palace of Versailles (1660s-1680s) as an expression of absolutist political philosophy:  the ideology of the "Sun King."

Have read for discussion the following sections in WH(1) "Absolutism, Monarchy, and the Balance of Power" (pp. 353-58); (2) "The Classical Baroque" (pp. 366-68); (3) "Baroque Literature in France" (pp. 374-75, including the 3 paragraphs preceding, under the more general heading "Literature"); (4) "The Revolution in Political Thought" (pp. 391-93).  (5) Explore the site on the Palace of Versailles.  This offers some wonderful 360-degree panoramic views, which you'll find links to towards the bottom of the opening page in whichever language you choose.  If you have a java-enabled browser, don't miss these.  There's also a section on "Exploring the Places." Here you should focus on the Chateau itself and on the gardens.  In the section "Meeting the People," be sure to study at least the pages on Louis XIV (as the Sun King and absolute monarch).  (6) Read Chapters 4-6 of Book III of Gulliver's Travels, which tells of Gulliver's visit to the Grand Academy of Legado on the island of Balnibari (pp. 171-89).

Be sure to give careful study to the following illustrations in WH:

15 Nov (M):  Jonathan Swift (first quarter of the 18th Century) as a skeptic of the Enlightenment.

(1) Have read for discusion the first 7 chapters of Book IV of Swift's Gulliver's Travels (pp. 216-250).  (2) Also read the passage from Swift's letter to Alexander Pope of 29 September 1725 that begins with "I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities..." to the end of the paragraph (pp. 503-04).

You'll want to make use of the Study Guide to Book IV.

In class we will discuss the first half of Book III of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (the voyages to the flying island of Laputa and the Grand Academy of Legado) as a satire on the "Baconian project," and begin the discussion of Swift's satirical tactics in Book IV (Gulliver's visit to the Land of the Houynhnhnms).

17 Nov (W):  Swift, conclusion.

(*) Complete your reading of Book IV of Gulliver's Travels -- Chapters 8-12 (pp. 250-77).  (Remember to make use of the Study Guide.)

19 Nov (F):  Alexander Pope:  Enlightenment, deism, and "philosophical optimism."

Read the following sections in WH:  (1) Chapter 16, "The Age of Reason 1700-1789," up through the sub-section on the Encyclopédie (pp. 405); (2) "Absolutism, Limited Monarchy, and Enlightened Despotism," through the discussions of France and Great Britain (pp. 406-08); (3) "Neoclassicism in English Literature" (pp. 420-21).  (4) Come to class having read, and ready to ask questions on (!), Epistles I and II of Alexander Pope's poem Essay on Man (1733-4).  (See our list of texts for the course.)

Don't neglect Time Line 16.1, "The Age of Reason" (WH, p. 403):  it's a useful way to organize your sense of the century.

22 Nov (M):  Voltaire:  Enlightenment, deism, and critique of "philosophical deism."

(1) In WH, read the section on "Literature [in the age of the Enlightenment]" through the section on "French Writers:  The Development of New Forms."  (2) Read Voltaire's Candide  (1759).  (See the list of texts for the course.)   (3) Use the Study Guide to Candide to take notes on your reading of this novella.

24 Nov (W):  No class:  Thanksgiving Break.

26 Nov (F):  No class:  Thanksgiving Break.

29 Nov (M):  Voltaire, conclusion.

(1) Review carefully the final chapter (#30) of Candide. (2) Read Voltaire's little fanciful dream vision "Dogmas" (1765) from the Philosophical Dictionary(3) In WH, read the section on "The Rococo Style in the Arts," along with the paragraph just preceding (pp. 409-415).  (4) Pay careful attention to the following illustrations:

1 Dec (W):  What is Enlightenment? -- Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, and Jacques-Louis David.

(1) Read Voltaire's little dialogue "Freedom of Thought" (1765), from his Philosophical Dictionary(2) Read our excerpt from Kant's essay "What Is Enlightenment?" (1784).  (There is an Introduction to this reading, which puts Kant in the larger context of early modern philosophy in general and of political developments in Europe at the end of the Eighteenth Century.)  (3) In WH, read the sections on "The Challenge of Neoclassicism" and "Neoclassical Painting" (pp. 415-17).

Study carefully the 2 paintings shown there by Jacques-Louis David -- The Oath of the Horatii (1784) and The Death of Socrates (1787).  Add to these Brutus Awaiting the Delivery of the Bodies of His Sons by the Lictors (aka The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons [1789]).  You might prefer the graphic at this site, as it more conveniently fits the screen on monitors that aren't 21 inches, though it's a little too dark to give the right impression of the original.  (You may want to check out the page on David at the Louvre's WebMuseum here or here.  There is also a useful biography of David at the CGFA- Jacques-Louis David suite.  These latter, however, are only optional, not required.)

3 Dec (F):  Exam #3.  You will want to consult the prep sheet for this exam.

6 Dec (M):  I will hand back Exam #3.  You'll have a chance to decide if you want to hand in an optional extra-credit assignment.  We will begin the showing (interspersed with discussion) of the film The Mission, which is the focus of one of the options for an extra-credit assignment.

8 Dec (W):   We will conclude the showing and discussion of the film The Mission.

10 Dec (F):  Last day of class.  Attendance is required.  The TEVAL will be administered at 11:10.

13 Dec (M):  Extra-credit assignments are due under my office door (at Denison 109) by 5:00pm, unless special arrangements are agreed to by me in advance.

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  Suggestions, comments and questions are welcome.  Please send them to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright © 1999 by Lyman A. Baker

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      This page last updated 05 December 1999.