Syllabus for English 151 (EL0151/HA0151, section 2) Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes, and Decadents, Semester I 2004

Professor Landow (office: 338 Carr House; e-mail:; office hours: 1.00-1:50, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Class meets in List 220, 1-1:50 AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Note: Check this on-line reading list at the beginning of each week since assignments may change or be reordered.

Classweb: Victorian Web


Weekly discussion questions. The weekly reading and discussion question has three parts: (a) depending upon whether the week's subject involves art or literature, you will either cite a painting or include 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 or the aspect of the painting that suggests why the reader wants to examine it closely; 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 Sunday before we begin discussing the reading. (You can skip a single set of questions during the semester.) Follow for an example of such reading questions for another course.

Midterm and Final Projects: to be described later.

Weeks 1 and 2. 8 through 17 September. (1) Introduction to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: 1848, The Situation in Painting and Poetry. (2) The Two Ruskins -- the Student of Nature and the Student of Iconology. (3) The Two Pre-Raphaelitisms.

Reading: (1) Introduction to the PRB. (2) Hogarth's Influence: Social Commentary, Symbolism, Satire (example of Industry and Idleness) (3) Creating High Art out of Realism. (4) Modern Painters, Volume 1, chapters "On the Truth of Color" and "On the Truth of Water" (at U.of Lancaster, UK) -- Discussion Questions; "The Influence of John Ruskin on the PRB;" (5) The Situation in Painting -- the example of Wilkie's The Blind Fiddler -- Discussion Questions; (6) Other hard-edge Pre-Raphaelite associates: John Brett, Charles Collins, William Davis, Augustus Egg, Arthur Hughes, J. F.Lewis, John Ruskin, W. B. Scott, Henry Wallis, Thomas Seddon,

Suggested additional readings: Chapters 1 and 2 of Landow, Ruskin: "Ruskin the word-painter" and "Ruskin the interpreter of the arts." Additional passages from Modern Painters, vols. 1-5.

Week 3. 20-24 (1) W. Holman Hunt, "The Pre-Raphaelite of the World." (2) The PRB and the Northern Renaissance

Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 of Landow, Hunt: "To Elevate Materialism: Hunt's Search for a New Iconography" and "Typological Symbolism in Hunt's Major Works." [Some other Pre-Raphaelite associatesabout whose works you might wish to write disucssion questions: Ford Madox Brown, John Brett, Robert Martineau, and W. B.Scott (RISD has an important work of his). [Discussion questions by members of the class]

Suggested additional readings:

Week 4: 27 September - 1 October. Sir John Everett Millais, PRA

Reading: Landow, "Christ in the House of His Parents;" Victorian Web materials on Millais's paintings, drawings, and book illustrations. [Discussion questions by members of the class -- Outline of topics discused in class]

A Brief look at Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: Alfred Tennyson", "Mariana," "The Palace of Art" [text], "The Lady of Shalott" [text]; illustrations by the PRB for the Moxon Tennyson

Suggested additional reading: Tate catalogue and Millais Portraits. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1996.

Week 5. 4-8 October. (Millais continued) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter, and the Two Pre-Raphaelitisms

Reading: The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, Ecce Ancilla Domini (The Annunciation), The Seed of David, Lady Lilith, Beatrice, a Portrait of Jane Morris, Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice, discussion of "Passover in the Holy Family." Victorian Web materials on Rossetti's paintings and watercolors; biography. [Discussion questions by members of the class -- Outline of topics discused in class]

Suggested additional reading: Tate catalogue and The Rossetti Archive (U.of Virginia)

Week 6. 13-15 October. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet

Monday 11 October Columbus Day Holiday

Reading: Rossetti's late paintings and the following poems: "The Woodspurge," "The Blessed Damozel," "For A Venetian Pastoral," "The Burden of Nineveh," "Jenny," "My Sister's Sleep," "Staff and Scrip," "Troy Town," and poems about paintings, including "Mary's Girlhood" and "The Passover in the Holy Family." [Discussion questions by members of the class]

Materials on the dramatic monologue; a selection of Robert Browning's dranmatic monologues, "Porpyhria's Lover" [text] "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed's," Fra Lippo Lippi

Suggested additional reading:"'Life touching lips with immortality': Rossetti's Temporal Structures" in Landow, Victorian Types.

Week 7. 18-22 October. Christina Rossetti

Readings: "Goblin Market," "Song," all poems in Victorian Web plus Monna Inominata; criticism and background materials in the Victorian Web. [Discussion questions by members of the class]

Suggested additional readings: Anthony H. Harrison's Christina Rossetti in Context, especially chapters 2-4.

Week 8. 24-29 October. Edward Burne-Jones

Reading: The Burne-Jones section of the Victorian Web: all works plus biographical materials. Use Google to find images of the Perseus, Pygmalion, and Briarose cycles. [Discussion questions by members of the class -- Outline of topics discused in class]

Week 9. 1-5 November. A. C. Swinburne. Sex and Politics, Sexual Politics

Reading: "Laus Veneris," "The Triumph of Time," "Dolores," "Hymn to Prosperine" [text], "Anactoria," "On the Russian Persecution of the Jews," and Dirae [text], "Before a Crucifix" [text], " "A Foresaken Garden," "Evening on the Broads" [text], "By the North Sea" [text]. Critical and contextual materials in the Victorian Web. Discussion questions.

Suggested additional readings: Chapter 1, Anthony H. Harrison, Swinburne's Medievalism: A Study in Victorian Love Poetry; Robert Buchanan's attack on Rossetti and Swinburne: "The Fleshy School of Poetry."

Week 10. 8-12 November. William Morris, Poet, Designer, Political Acitivist

Reading: From The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858): "The Blue Closet" (Text), "The Defence of Guenevere" (Text), "Golden Wings" (Text), "The Haystack in the Floods" (Text -- Discussion), "King Arthur's Tomb" (Text), "Near Avalon" (Text), "Shameful Death" (Text), "Summer Dawn" (Text), "Two Red Roses across the Moon" (Text), "The Tune of the Seven Towers" (Text). Works in design: stained-glass, furniture, textiles. Victorian design, especially furniture, ceramics, and jewelry. Discussion questions.

Suggested additional reading: William Morris. Ed. Linda Parry. New York: Abrams, 1996.

Week 11. 15-19 November. Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes, and the Reform of Victorian Decorative Arts

Reading: Materials in the Victorian Web on design, furniture, metalwork, jewelry, ceramics, and textiles. For question sets, each one of you should pick a different topic -- an area of design (furniture, glass), an individual designer, or one of the new or revival styles (medieval, celtic, Liberty). Let me know your choice by e-mail so I can inform the class about which topics have been taken. Discussion questions.

Suggested additional reading: William Morris. Ed. Linda Parry. New York: Abrams, 1996.

Week 12. 22 November. The Later Pre-Raphaelites and the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood

Reading: Evelyn de Morgan, Atkinson Grimshaw, Sidney Harold Meteyard, Henry Ryland, Frederick Sandys , Emma Sandys, William Bell Scott, John Liston Byam Shaw, Bernard Sleigh, Simeon Solomon, John Rodham Spencer Stanhope, John Melhuish Strudwick, John William Waterhouse.

Discussion questions. Suggested additional reading: Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998.

24-28 November. Wednesday noon to Sunday. Thanksgiving recess

Weeks 13. 29 November-3 December. Aesthetes and Decadents (I)

Reading: Aubrey Beardsley; Max Beerbohm, Rossetti and His Circle (caricatures); Sidney Sime; Continental Decadents: Franz von Stuck, Fernand Khnopff, Max Klinger, ArnoldBöcklin, Frederico Faruffini,and others.

Suggested additional reading: Philippe Jullian, Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s. London: Pall Mall, 1971; Patrick Bade, Images of Evil and Fascinating Women. NewYork: Mayflower, 1979;

Weeks 13. 6-10 December. Aesthetes and Decadents (II)

Reading: Max Beerbohm, "A Defence of Cosmetics," Ernest Dowson, "Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration" [text] and "Extreme Unction" [text]; Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying," "Les Ballons ," "The Harlot's House ," "Helas! ," "Impression du Matin," "Pan -- Double Villanelle ," "The Sphinx ," "Symphony In Yellow,"

11-20 December: Final Exam Period. Final project due when final exam is scheduled.

Related Resources

Books Ordered

C. Rossetti. Complete Poems. Penguin paperback.

D. G. Rossetti. Collected Poetry and Prose. Ed. McGann. Yale UP paperback.

John Ruskin. The Genius of John Ruskin. U. of Virginia paperback.

A. C. Swinburne, Poems and Ballads. Penguin paperback.

Christopher Wood. The Pre-Raphaelites.

Last modified December 2004