ENGL 215 A1: Reading Literature Across Time: "ROMANCE" and its Others

C. Harol

This course will track the category of “romance” from the medieval period to contemporary times. We will study the concept of romance in three senses: as a genre, as a philosophy, and as a category of human relations and sexuality. These categories are not historically distinct, but we can approach them as such: from medieval romance, to the idealist philosophy of romanticism, to our modern colloquial sense of romance, which incorporates aspects of both of these previous senses. We will also think about what romance has been defined against: history, empiricism, sex, etc. The goals of this course include: understanding the term “romance” over the course of its long history in English; understanding the concept of genre, with romance as a case study; understanding of the broad periods of literary history in English (Medieval, Early Modern, Enlightenment, Romanticism, Victorianism, Modernism, Postmodernism); learning methods of historical analysis of texts as well as developing methods of close reading.