SCANDINAVIAN 235: Studies in Romanticism and Realism: Nordic Romanticism, the Individual and the Collective

M 1-4 , 6415 Dwinelle. Instructor: Anna Sandberg

Units: 4

The Romantic movement arose in the context of the revolutions of France and America at a turning point between Feudal Absolutism and beginning liberal reforms and can be seen as an ambivalent response to Enlightenment and Secularization. Inspired by European literary and intellectual currents and German idealist philosophy the Scandinavian Romanticisms favored individuality, imagination and formal experimentation (e.g. genre hybridity, the fragment and romantic irony). Thus the Romantic project is characterized by tensions: some writers believed in a utopian transformation of humanity. Others reflected the radical destabilization of the individual. On the one hand we find a search for the unifying dimensions of nation, language and Nordic history and mythology. On the other hand we find sceptic, if not nihilistic, tendencies in texts questioning the autonomy of the subject.  We will examine these dual ideas in the different periods of Romanticism in Scandinavia and read texts covering the period 1800-1850 of writers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway: Jens Baggesen, Schack von Staffeldt, Adam Oehlenschläger, Ingemann, Hans Christian Andersen and Kierkegaard, Stagnelius, Atterbom, Almqvist and Wergeland. Primary readings are balanced with literary history and critical essays.

Texts: to be announced.

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing or consent of instructor.