Many forms of identity that we take for granted (such as gender, nationality, race) and the idea of the individual are historical products that first emerged during the time period we study Custom Essay

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The readings have suggested that many forms of identity that we take for granted (such as gender, nationality, race) and the idea of the individual are historical products that first emerged during the time period we study. Much of the literature we have read plays a key role in constructing or shaping our understanding of these categories. Do you believe that literature is central to our understanding, of, say, masculinity and femininity (gender roles) or British identity (defined against an other identify)? Choose at least three works from this semester’s reading (excluding Frankenstein) and discuss them in relation to the construction of one category of identity that we have discussed this semester. You may want to write about Heart of Darkness, A Room of One’s Own, "The Man Who Would Be King", or the poetry of Browning, Tennyson, or Rossetti.

2) Although we are trained to read advances in science and industry as, by definition, “progress,” and therefore “good,” late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britons were far more ambivalent. Literary texts reflect and comment on the changes and discoveries that seemed to define modern life. Does literature always have an antagonistic relationship to "progress" or "change"? What does literature say about social change—l ike the rise of the family and the middle class? Choose at least three texts (excluding Frankenstein) and discuss what they suggest about advances in science and rapid industrialization or social change. Do these texts argue that "change" will negatively or positively affect the fabric of British society? How will "progress" shape the ways in which British citizens live and interact with one another? What kind of "change" or "progress" do the texts discuss? And in a mechanically driven world, what kind of authority, if any, does the "Artist" hold? You might want to consider Shelley’s A Defense of Poetry, Tennyson’s poetry, Matthew Arnold’s poetry and prose, Heart of Darkness, "The Man Who Would Be King," or A Room of One’s Own.

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