World Literature of the 19th Century

This course is an introduction to world literature. It covers various works of literature from the 19th century. The focus will be on how these works reflect the cultural, historical, political, and social context of their time.

The Romantic Period (18th – early 19th century) was a time of great change in Europe. The Enlightenment had challenged traditional ideas, and the French Revolution had overturned the old order. In this time of upheaval, many people looked to nature and emotions as a source of truth and beauty. This was the age of Romanticism.

Romanticism in Europe was influenced by the events of the French Revolution. The Romantics were opposed to the rationalism of the Enlightenment. They believed that reason could not explain everything, and that there was more to life than what could be seen and measured. They believed in the power of imagination, emotions, and nature.

Some of the most famous European Romantics were William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. They wrote about nature, love, death, and other topics that were close to their hearts.

Romanticism in America was different from Europe. American writers were influenced by the idea of Manifest Destiny, which said that it was America’s destiny to expand across the continent. This led them to write about frontier life, and the unique experience of living in a new country.

Some of the most famous American Romantics were Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. They wrote about America’s natural beauty, its history, and its people.

The Victorian Era (mid-19th century) was a time of great change in Britain. Queen Victoria ruled for over 60 years, and during that time Britain became a world power. The country underwent an industrial revolution, and millions of people moved from the countryside to the cities.

This was also a time of religious revival. The Second Great Awakening was a movement that sought to revive interest in religion. This led to the growth of evangelical churches, as well as new denominations such as Mormonism and Seventh-day Adventism.

The Victorian Era was also a time of great social change. In 1832, Britain passed the Reform Act, which gave voting rights to more people. In 1833, slavery was abolished in Britain’s colonies. These changes helped to create a more equal society.

Some of the most famous Victorian writers were Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, and Rudyard Kipling. They wrote about a wide range of topics, including poverty, crime, love, and death.

World literature is a valuable way to learn about different cultures and times. It is also a way to understand the authors’ main themes and techniques of writing. This course will cover various works of world literature from the 19th century. The focus will be on how these works reflect the cultural, historical, political, and social context of their time.


In order to take World Literature, you will need to have completed English 12 or its equivalent.

You will be studying texts from a variety of different cultures in World Literature.

This course will help you to understand literature from other cultures by providing context for the texts that you read.