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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List ENAM 0920 Literature of the English Country House - only offered Autumn 2017

ENAM 0920 Literature of the English Country House - only offered Autumn 2017

[Please note: This seminar is offered for the Autumn 2017 semester. It is not offered in Spring 2018. Each seminar runs only if there is sufficient student demand.] This seminar explores the significance of the sense of place in English literature and culture. Tracing the image of the “stately home” from the Tudor period to the present day, the course charts the rise and decline of the country house as a symbol of the precarious political power, economic influence and social status of the English moneyed classes. We place novels, poetry and dramatic texts (for stage and screen) alongside historical and architectural records to gain a better understanding of the impact that these great landmarks continue to make on English life.

Sample seminars

The English at Home:

1)     The English Court at Large

Key texts: Selection of Elizabethan court masques

2)     The Origins of Country House Poetry

Key Texts: Jonson, ‘To Penshurst’; Marvell, ‘Upon Appleton House’


3)     Taste and Luxury

Key text: Pope, ‘Epistle to Burlington’

4)     Cultivation and Wilderness
Key text: Exploring eighteenth-century architecture and landscaping

The Golden Age of the Country House?

5)     Staging High Society

Key text: Sheridan, ‘The Rivals’

6)     Austen’s Economy

Key text: Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The Country House at Risk:

7)     ‘Only Connect’

Key text: Forster, Howards End

8)     ‘Saved for the Nation’
Key texts: Exploring the contemporary news archives

The Country House Now:

9)     The Country House in Popular Culture
Key text: Atonement (2007), directed by Joe Wright

10)  Sex and Spirit
Key texts: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2015, BBC)

Over 25 years on
I attended CMRS over 25 years ago; now I live outside Washington, DC, where I practice law before the federal appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Cour...
Greg Castanias, Autumn Semester 1985, Wabash College