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CLS 109 — Great Britain in the Age of Reason

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Dec 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 10
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $435
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 22
On campus
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 27—Dec 6
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 10
2 Units
Please Note: No class on November 22

The 400 years of the 15th through the 18th centuries were pivotal to the development of Europe and its relationship to the world community. These years witnessed the birth of the Renaissance, the flowering of the Baroque, the social revolutions of the Enlightenment, and the emergence of a world in which nations and peoples were interconnected by trade, conquest, and colonization. This series of courses will give students an in-depth introduction to this critical period in history. Together, we will examine the most significant European historical periods from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment—their origins, their ideologies, and their distinct development in Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, France, England, and the Low Countries. We will also study contemporaneous non-Western civilizations in Africa, India, the Americas, and Asia, and their interaction with European explorers, merchants, conquerors, and settlers. By the end of the series, we will have covered the evolution of Western civilization for four centuries and examined its impact on the larger world—an impact that is still very much with us today.

The series will be comparative and multidisciplinary and will include a large selection of texts in history, art, and literature. We will also study the arts of Western and non-Western traditions. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

FALL 2013 – SPRING 2014, THE 15TH CENTURY: The Italian Renaissance and the Portuguese journey to the Spice Islands
FALL 2014 – SPRING 2015, THE 16TH CENTURY: Protestant Reformation, the French Renaissance, and the conquest of New Spain
FALL 2015 – SPRING 2016, THE 17TH CENTURY: Spain during the Siglo de Oro and the race for the markets of Asia
FALL 2016 – SPRING 2017, THE 18TH CENTURY: The global impact of the French and English Enlightenment

Course Description:

In this fourth year of “The Making of the Modern World” series, we will concentrate on the 18th century. During the Fall quarter, we will examine the impact of the Enlightenment on Great Britain and its colonies. We will look at some of its major figures—such as John Locke, Alexander Pope, and Benjamin Franklin—and how their views contrasted with those expressed in previous centuries and embodied the major cultural and philosophical trends of the new age: civil liberty, social equality, and the rule of reason. We will also study the evolution of the novel during the 18th century and how it became a vehicle for many of the pivotal ideas that defined that century. We will read the works of the period’s most prominent novelists: Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, and Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones. We will accompany our discussion of these literary works with an examination of the period’s most significant painters: William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and George Romney. This course will introduce students to the most important ideas that defined the 18th century in England and its overseas possessions. It will be followed in Winter and Spring with an examination of how these ideas manifested themselves in France, its neighbors, and across the globe.

Edward Steidle, Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford

Edward Steidle has been at Stanford since 1984. His area of specialization is medieval art and literature. He is working on comparative approaches to the study of ancient European, Asian, and Central American cultures. Steidle also leads travel groups to historic sites in Western Europe and the Mediterranean region. He received a PhD from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Hackett (ISBN 978 0915144860)
(Required) Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, Dover (ISBN 978 0486280530)
(Required) Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography, Norton (ISBN 978 0393952940)
(Required) Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Norton (ISBN 978 0393957242)
(Required) Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, Norton (ISBN 978 0393978629)
(Required) Henry Fielding, History of Tom Jones, Penguin (ISBN 978 0140436228)
(Recommended) Roy Porter, English Society in 18th Century, Penguin (ISBN 978 0140138191)