RCHUMS 344 - Reason and Passion in the 18th Century
Section: 001
Term: WN 2013
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course examines and compares significant works of visual art, literature and philosophy created in Europe during the eighteenth century. In the midst of radical changes in political institutions and social life, works of creative imagination such as paintings, novels and speculative essays helped to define and re-define the nature of “human nature.” Although sometimes called an age of reason, this was equally an age of feeling and belief, and rational approaches to the improvement of human life went hand in hand with confidence in the truth of the emotions. An experimental attitude charges much of the religious, political and philosophical writing of the period, and “thought experiments” of various kinds were carried out in the subject matter and technical innovations of engravings, paintings and architectural designs. As we shall see, the idea that individual liberty should not be constrained by established doctrine is a major feature of intellectual and artistic discourse in this period, and one that was closely associated with the idea that human beings are fundamentally creatures of nature, subject to the laws of physics and driven by passions and appetites. Readings include Descartes’ Discourse on Method, La Mettrie’s Machine Man, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Pope’s Essay on Man, Rousseau’s Confessions, Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther, and art criticism by Winckelmann and Denis Diderot. We will study paintings by Boucher, Fragonard, Greuze, Chardin, Joseph Wright, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Angelica Kauffman, among others.

Course Requirements:

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Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

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RCHUMS 344 - Reason and Passion in the 18th Century
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
4RC Ugrd
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Accu-Copy, 518 E. William, after 10 AM, cash only
All listed books are required (not optional)
ISBN: 0521546818
The Enlightenment, Author: Dorinda Outram, Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press 2. ed. 2005
ISBN: 9780141439471
Frankenstein : or the modern Prometheus, Author: Mary Shelley. Ed ; with an introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle., Publisher: Penguin Books Rev. ed. 2003
ISBN: 014044503X
The stories of young Werther, Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ; translated with an introduction and notes by Michael Hulse., Publisher: Penguin 1989
ISBN: 0143037501
A vindication of the rights of woman, Author: Mary Wollstonecraft., Publisher: Penguin Books 2006
ISBN: 9780140441260
Zadig ; L'ingenu, Author: Voltaire ; translated with an introduction by John Butt., Publisher: Penguin [Repr.]. 1983
ISBN: 0140444394
A discourse on inequality, Author: Jean-Jacques Rousseau ; translated with an introduction and notes by Maurice Cranston., Publisher: Penguin Books Repr., new 1984
ISBN: 0486280535
Essay on man and other poems, Author: Alexander Pope., Publisher: Dover Publications 1994
ISBN: 0140446990
Discourse on method, and related writings, Author: Rene Descartes ; translated with an introduction by Desmond M. Clarke., Publisher: Penguin Books Reprinted. 1999
ISBN: 0141439823
Robinson Crusoe, Author: Daniel Defoe ; edited with an introduction and notes by John Richetti., Publisher: Penguin books Ed. 2001, 2001
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