Western Literature II

Description of Essay:

For this essay, select a literary period and a larger theoretical idea which we have discussed in this class, and use a large representational segment (a novel, play, or collection of poems) of a single author’s work to delve deeper into the connection between these two things.

However, and here is the twist, you may not use the obvious period/idea pairing. For example, it would be too obvious to look at “The Sublime” in the Romantic period. So, instead, you may want to examine how “The Sublime” subverts the starkness of Modernism, for example.

You will use the piece(s) of literature you select to illustrate the points you wish to make. Moreover, you will need to include at least two outside, non-literarily, non-encyclopedic pieces of research into the paper. These will, hopefully, serve as context for your argument, rather than simply act as defining ideas.

Your essay must have a clearly stated thesis, and use quotes to illustrate the points being made.


The Sublime
Earliest Text on the sublime was written by Longinu. He defines the literary sublime as “excellence in language”, the “expression of a great spirit” and the power to provoke “ecstasy” in one’s readers
Burke defines the sublime as “whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain
and danger. Whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror.”

The Gaze
Sign: Signs have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when sign-users invest them with meaning with reference to a recognized code
Signified: One of the two parts of the sign. The mental concept represented by the signifier.
Signifier: The other part of the sign; the signifier is the form which a sign takes. In relation to linguistic signs, this is a non-material form of the spoken word.


late 1800- industrial revolution mix of Romanticism and modernism , everything was very happy, self improvement, good people, happy go lucky, heroism realistic, rose vey example tale of two city
Marked by a strong and intentional break with tradition. This break includes a strong reaction against established religious, political, and social views.
Belief that the world is created in the act of perceiving it; that is, the world is what we say it is.
Focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women.
A movement in art and literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in revolt against the Neoclassicism of the previous centuries

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