English 156 S05 (History of Art 152): Victorians in Togas: Classicism and Empire in Victorian Literature and Art

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Professor Landow (office: 338 Carr House; e-mail: george@landow.com); office hours: 1:15-2:20, TTh. Class meets K Hour 10:30-11:50pm, Tuesday and Thursday. Course website: The Victorian Web.

Weekly discussion questions

The weekly reading and discussion question has three parts: (a) a substantial passage of 1-3 paragraphs (please don't forget page numbers -- and to give your question set a title); (b) a graceful and effective introduction to the passage that suggests why the reader wants to read it; and (c) 4-5 questions, chiefly concerning matters of technique, for which you do not have to have answers. These exercises, which provide the basis of class discussion, should be e-mailed to me no later than 6 pm Monday before we begin discussing the reading; books that occupy two weeks require two questions, one for each week. (You can skip a single set of questions during the semester.) Follow for an examples of such question sets from another English/History of Art seminar about poetry and painting.


Note: All secondary materials listed are on course reserve,

Week 1 Thursday, 25 January, Introduction: Five Versions of Rome and the Roman Empire — (1) the Republic; (2) the Empire; (3) the Decadence of Nero, Caligula, and Hegiobalus; (4) Apocaplyptic Rome and the destruction of Pompeii; and (5) Catholic Rome. Readings: Landow, "Victorianized Romans: Images of Rome in Victorian Painting" and "There Began to Be a Great Talking about the Fine Arts" — Victorian Art Criticism and the Rise of a Middle-Class Audience. [Images and outline of introduction (first class meeting)]

Week 2. Tuesday, 30 January, through Thursday, 1 February, Pre-Raphaelites, Anti-Pre-Raphaelites, and those who can't quite decide. First and second generation Pre-Raphaelites: D. G. Rossetti, and Burne-Jones; Classical School: Leighton and Poynter; and the eclectics: Herbert Draper and J. W. Waterhouse. Readings: Begin Christopher Wood, Olympian Dreamers, pp. 15-31, and browse through Peter Trippi's J. W. Waterhouse and Simon Toll's Herbert Draper, concentraing on one or two works. Discussion questions due 6 pm Sunday evening, 29 January.

Week 3. Tuesday, 6 February, and Thursday, 8 February. Why the Romans are just like us! Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Domesticated Romans. Readings: Web materials on Alma-Tadema and Poynter. Olympian Dreamers, pp. 106-30; R. J. Barrow, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, both on reserve. Discussion questions.

Weeks 4. Tuesday, 13 February, through Thursday, 15 February. Pre-Imperial Heroism: Thomas Babbington Macaulay and The Lays of Ancient Rome. Discussion questions.

Week 5. Tuesday, 20 February, and Thursday, 22 February. Naked or Nude? The Dilemma of the Victorian Nude in Victorian Painting and Sculpture: Edward Burne-Jones, William Etty, John Gibson, Alfred Gilbert, Frederick Lord Leighton, Andrea Carlo Lucchesi, Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal Frederick W. Pomeroy, Edward Poynter, Simeon Solomon, Albert Toft, Sir Richard Westmacott, (many of these have only 1 or 2 examples). Reading: Web materials, Exposed: The Victorian Nude, and Olympian Dreamers, pp. 131-54; Discussion questions.

Week 6. Tuesday, 27 February, through Thursday, 1 March. Woman Sculpting Women (and Men): Margaret Giles, Lady Feodora Gleichen, Ruby Levick, and the Rise of Women Sculptors. Reading: "Margaret Giles's Hero and the Sublime Female Nude." Discussion questions.

Suggested additional readings: Susan Beattie, The New Sculpture (on reserve). Look through issues of the late-nineteenth-century periodical, The Studio. Discussion questions. [Get a head start — begin reading Bulwer-Lytton.]

Weeks 7 and 8. Domesticity, Religion and Cataclysm — Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Last Days of Pompeii plus web materials on Bulwer-Lytton. Tuesday, 6 March, through Thursday 15 March. Discussion questions.

Week 9. Tuesday, 20 April, and Thursday, 22 April. 1. The Poets of Rome in the Age of Victoria; 2. Classical Myth and Victorian Poets. Readings: 1. Selected passages from Victorian translations of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, and Catullus; 2. Tennyson's "Lucretius," "The Lotos Eaters," and "Tithonus," Browning's "Cleon," Swinburne's "Hymn to Prosperine" and "Ave Atque Vale," Dowson's "Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae," Readings: Vance, The Victorians and Ancient Rome, pp. 81-194. Discussion questions

Spring Recess. 24 March through 1 April.

Week 10. Togas or Trousers: The Problem of Costume in Victorian Sculpture. Tuesday, 3 April, and Thursday, 5 April. Web materials on Henry Hugh Armstead, Sir Thomas Brock, John Henry Foley, Matthew Noble, Sir Richard Westmacott, Thomas Woolner, Harry Bates. Discussion questions

Week 12. Tuesday, 10 April, and Thursday, 12 April. England's Michaelangelo: G. F. Watts. web materials and Olympian Dreamers, pp. 81-106. Discussion questions

Week 13. Tuesday, 17 April, through Thursday, 19 April. Late or Minor Olympians: Herbert Draper, Solomon J. Solomon, and J. W. Waterhouse. Web materials and Olympian Dreamers, pp. 203-24, 245-57. Discussion questions.

Week 14. Tuesday, 23 April, and Thursday, 25 April. Classicizing Aesthetes and Decadents. Albert Moore, Simeon Solomon, Thomas Couture, Gérome, and Roman Decadence. Olympian Dreamers, pp.154-203; Robyn Asleson's Albert Moore.

Reading Period: 27 April-8 May; classes will meet for part of reading period

Links to Final Projects for 2007

Important Web Resources

Resources for improving your writing

Victorian Web Victorian courses

Last modified 18 May 2007