Fall 2003 HNR 215/216 Honors European Civilization

Professor Crouthamel 
Office: MAK 1018
Office Hours: MW 3-4:30
Telephone: 331-2931
E-mail: crouthaj@gvsu.edu
Class time: 1:00-2:50 MWF, ASH 2147
Online materials: Blackboard at http://bb.gvsu.edu
Professor Webster
Office: 129 LHH
Office Hours: 11-12, MW, 5-6 W
Telephone: 331-3071
E-mail: websterm@gvsu.edu
Home page: http://faculty.gvsu.edu/websterm/
European Civilization Links


Applebaum, Stanley. English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1996. ISBN: 0-486-29282-7

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. 1899. Norton Critical edition, 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: Norton, 1988.

Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice. Trans. David Luke. New York: Bantam, 1988. ISBN: 0-553-21333-4

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. New York: NAL / Signet, 1998. ISBN: 0-451-52710-0

Molière [Jean Baptiste Poquelin]. The Misanthrope and Tartuffe Trans. Richard Wilbur. New York: Harvest / Harcourt Brace, 1965. ISBN: 0-15-660517-1

Perry, Marvin et al., Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics & Society, Vol. II: From the 1600s 6th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. (We will also use this text winter semester.)

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton,1996. ISBN: 0-393-96458-2

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings. Ed. Miriam Kosh Starkman. New York: Bantam, 1984. ISBN: 0-553-21232-X

Voltaire [François-Marie Arouet]. Candide, or Optimism. 2nd ed. Ed. and trans. Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton, 1991.

Zola, Germinal. Trans. Peter Collier, Introduction Robert Lethbridge. New York: Oxford UP, 1998. ISBN: 0192837028

Readings: Feel free to ask questions about the readings, which, while they may come from unfamiliar time periods and cultures, are nevertheless exciting, entertaining, and challenging. Come to class prepared, having read the material and thought about the study questions and any other questions you have raised on your own. We will help you keep on track by giving quizzes from time to time. Your participation will help make the discussion lively and the course more memorable.

These books are required; occasionally, additional reading or literature will be distributed in class or posted on the class web page. Assigned readings are noted on the syllabus; all reading ought be completed before the class for which it is assigned. Copies of all books have been ordered through the campus bookstore. Another, often less expensive alternative is an on-line bookstore such as amazon.com or one of the new on-line textbook sellers. These companies usually process orders within a day or two. Please use editions and translations ordered for this class.

Syllabus (Schedule of Readings)

Aug. 25: Introduction to European Civilization. Begin reading Perry (Chs 13 and 14) and begin Moliere's Tartuffe (1664-69).

Aug. 27: Background to Renaissance and Reformation Europe: The Emergence of the "Modern." Finish reading Perry Chs. 13
              and 14. Hierarchy and Harmony: Dryden / Handel, "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687"

Aug. 29: "The Great Chain of Being" and Daily Life in Early Modern Europe; Moliere's Tartuffe, Acts 1 and 2

Handout: "A Witchcraft Trial in France"

Sept. 3: Witches, heretics, religious divides. Moliere's Tartuffe, Acts 3 - 5

Sept. 5: Rise of Modern State – Secular vs. Religious Mentalities; Finish reading Tartuffe and respond to discussion questions              on Blackboard. Read Perry Ch. 16.

Handouts: De Rovroy, Memoirs, Frederick II, Political Testament

Sept. 8: Culture and Censorship, Passion and Reason. Begin Swift’s Gulliver's Travels, part 1.

Sept. 10: Satire vs. Comedy; Reason, Authority, and Science. Continue Swift’s Gulliver's Travels, part 1.

Sept. 12: Poverty and Privilege in 18th century Europe; Hogarth engravings. Read: "A Modest Proposal" (Swift, pp. 487-495) 

Sept. 15: Workshop: Revising your way to an ‘A’. Deism and the Great Chain of Being: Pope's Essay on Man

Sept. 17: The Enlightenment Pt. I: Cultural and Intellectual Developments;  Satire on Reason, Science, and Politics [Gulliver,
                part 3, chapters 3-7 (164-189), Laputa, Balnibarbi, and the Academy of Lagado; begin Gulliver's Travels, part 4.]                 Read Perry, Chs. 17 and 18.

Handout: The Enlightenment's "Greatest Hits"

Sept. 19: The Enlightenment Pt. II: Social and Political Consequences; Satire on Nature and Reason: Finish Gulliver's Travels,                 part 4. Continue Perry, Chs. 17 and 18.

Handout: De Condorcet, "On the Progress of the Human Mind"

Sept. 22: Start Voltaire’s Candide (chapters 1-10) 

Sept. 24: The Age of Discovery: Slavery, Trade, and its Cultural Consequences. Finish Voltaire’s Candide (chapters 11-30)

Handouts: De Montaigne, On Cannibals, Equiano's Narrative

Sept. 26: Discussion of Voltaire’s Candide

Sept. 29: The French Revolution Pt. I: First Phases. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. Begin Perry, Chs 19 and

Handout: "Declaration of Rights Man and Citizen"

Oct. 1: The French Revolution Pt. II: Democratization or Terror?  Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. Continue
            Perry Chs. 19 and 20

Handout: "Declaration of Women's Rights," "Slave Revolts"

Oct. 3: Aftershocks: Social and Political Consequences of the French Revolution. Wordsworth and Coleridge

Oct. 6: The Age of Revolution, 1815-1848. Percy Shelley and Keats. Read Ch. 22 (through p. 550) and Ch. 23 

Oct. 8: Midterm

Oct. 10: Industrialization Pt. I: Economic Revolution;  Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Introduction and Vol. I — (1-58). Read
              Perry Ch. 21

Handout: "The New Discipline of the Factory System"

Oct. 13: Industrialization Pt. II: Social and Political Revolution — Who Wins and Who Loses? Mary Shelley, Frankenstein,
              Vol II — The "hideous progeny" speaks! (59-101).

Oct. 15: The ‘Crystal Palace’: Middle Class Victorian Society. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Vol III (102-156). Read Perry,
              Ch. 26.

Handout: Samuel Smiles, "Self Help"

Oct. 17: The ‘Satanic Mills’: The Darker Side of ‘Progress; Begin Zola's Germinal, Parts I and II (1-132). Realism and

Handouts: Sadler Committee Report, Life of a British Prostitute.

Oct. 20: The Rise of Marxist Socialism. Zola's Germinal, Parts III and IV (135-291). Marx, The Communist Manifesto,
              intro. and pp. 49-91

Oct. 22: Class Warfare or Compromise? – Conflicts at the end of the 19th Century. Zola's Germinal, Parts V and VI 

Oct. 24: Final discussion of Zola’s Germinal —Finish Part VII (437-524) and Introduction.

Oct. 27: Simulation, "Families in the Industrial Era"

Oct. 29: Darwin: Social and Intellectual Consequences. Tennyson, from In Memoriam A. H. H., sections 54-56, 118-120,
              124. Handout: from The Origin of Species.

Oct. 31: Revolt against Reason: Friedrich Nietzsche and Julien Sorel. Realism and Symbolism: Baudelaire and Mallarmé. Read
              Perry, Ch. 28.

Handout: Excerpts from Nietzsche and Sorel

Nov. 3: The Rise of Nationalism; Symbolism vs. Impressionism; Read Perry Ch. 25. [Election Day, November 4]

Handout: Treitzsche, On the German Nation

Nov. 5: Imperialism Pt. I: Economic and Political Factors. Conrad, Heart of Darkness, chapter 1 (7-33). Read Perry, Ch. 27

Handout: Cecil Rhodes

Nov. 7: Imperialism Pt. II: Cultural. Conrad, Heart of Darkness, chapter 2 (33-54).   

Handout: Hottentot Venus, Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden"

Nov. 10: 1900: Art and Culture in Fin de Siecle Europe. Finish Heart of Darkness, chapter 3 (54-76). Selections from
               Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde. 

Handout: Excerpts from Freud

Nov. 12: Discussion of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Nov. 14: The Growth of the Radical Right: The Dreyfus Affair and the Stöcker Movement. Impressionists; start Thomas
               Mann's Death in Venice. 

Handout: Anti-Semitism in the Late 19th Century
Nov. 17: OPEN [catch-up day]

Nov. 19: "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young": Europe on the Brink of World War I; Death in Venice, chapters 2-3

Nov. 21: Domestic Tensions: The Women’s Movement, Mobilization of the Masses. Death in Venice, chapters 4-5

Handout: Elizabeth Pankhurst

Nov. 24: The Symbolists: A Look into the Future: Symbolism + Naturalism = Modernism? (Death in Venice and Rilke's 
               "Archaic Torso of Apollo" and "The Panther").


Dec. 1: Imperial Russia; Then and Now—Video: Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (on 42nd Street)

Dec. 3: Then and Now—Video: Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (on 42nd Street)

Dec. 5: Last Discussions, Preparation for the Final


Final Exam: Tuesday, December 9, 2-3:50 p.m. 

Course Goals and Objectives, HNR 215 / 216, Fall, 2003

This is the first half of Honors European Civilization, where we will examine the major social, political, cultural and economic developments from the mid-17th century to 1914 (World War I). We will explore history, literature, and visual art through discussion, lecture, and debate about some major themes of modern European civilization, including:

This course will begin with the development of Enlightenment ("The Age of Reason"), seen in the context of early modern (up to 1789) European life. We will proceed to the two major revolutions that shaped the 19th century: the French Revolution and its consequences for social, political, economic, and cultural institutions and systems of thought; the Industrial Revolution and its effects on daily life (including work and family), class structures, politics, and demographics. In addition, we will examine problems in European society as it came to the brink of World War I. We will discuss the rise of tensions between social groups (working and middle classes), the development of racism in the context of imperialism and mass politics, conflicts over the role of women in changing industrial society, and debates over the application of reason, science and technology in modern life.

How does one study the history, literature, and art of a civilization? The easy answer to this question is that we interpret the past, we look for meanings. The historical portion of this course will examine how life changed for ordinary people who endured revolutions, wars, and social and cultural changes. Because various groups (depending on social class, gender, ethnic background, religion) interpreted the meaning of events in different ways, it is often a challenge to reconstruct history (there is no single ‘history’) as it was seen through the eyes of diverse individuals and groups. We will thus pay close attention to the perspectives of historical actors by listening to their own voices in primary sources (first hand accounts), in art and literature, and in classroom simulations that reproduce the circumstances that shaped everyday life. In the process of reconstructing history and interpreting these texts, we will introduce you to historical methods (think like a detective!) and cultural analysis (how does one interpret a text?).

Like historical events and documents, literary and artistic works have much to tell us about how the past shaped the present. In addition, they present human experiences and emotions in a very direct way, whether acted on the stage or activated by attentive readers. Understanding the history will help shape and sharpen our interpretations of art and literature. Learning to interpret art and literature involves asking three kinds of questions: reading and interpretive, and critical.

(Each kind of question may contain elements of another kind. Thus an analytical interpretation must take into account sensuous aspects like feeling and performance.) The best questions are open-ended—they have no "right" or "wrong" answer, only better or worse answers according to the evidence and reasonings you can bring to back up your opinions. These questions usually contain phrases like "do you think" or "why do you suppose."

The larger goals of this course are to equip students with the skills needed to effectively think, read, and express themselves (in writing and debate) as reflective, critical citizens. This course will give you the chance to sharpen your ability to form an argument, interpret evidence, and make connections among complex ideas. We also hope you will find the course challenging and enjoyable: the fun will come in discovering new ideas through reading, talking, and writing about history, ancient storesliterature, and art. Further, this course will give you the chance to explore your own perspectives through respectful dialogue with your peers on historical and cultural issues that relate to our own time and place.

Attendance: Since we've structured this course around discussion questions, rather than just lecture material, your attendance and your participation is vital. Those who are absent (in body or mind) will find the course less interesting and the material more difficult than those who attend and participate. You cannot "make up" the discoveries and the intellectual give-and-take created by a classroom full of individual personalities. You also deprive the class of the unique perspective that only you can bring. If you feel intimidated or puzzled by the readings or have some hesitancy about participating, feel free to talk to us about it. Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it definitely makes the grade go lower. Those who miss more than a week of classes without legitimate excuse will receive a failing grade for the course.

Writing will be graded very carefully. You will have four kinds of writing assignments: 1) short (no more than one page, hand-written) before-class or in-class exercises, 2) short quizzes on the reading, 3) two essay exams (a midterm and a final), and 4) three (4-5 pages, typewritten) papers. You will have the opportunity to revise one paper of your choice. Prerequisite: completion of the composition requirement.

All papers are to be typed and are due at the beginning of the class specified. We WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE PAPERS. If a paper is not turned in when it is due, you will receive a grade of "0." Similarly, exams must be taken when scheduled. If you have a truly extraordinary circumstance, let us know as early as possible before an assignment is due, and we'll work something out so that you can hand in your best possible effort.

The Writing Center is a place where students can discuss their writing with student consultants prepared to respond to their work. The Writing Center offers assistance on prewriting, drafting, revising previous drafts, editing, and citing sources. Locations:

Allendale Campus
201 STU

Pew Campus
Grand Rapids
101B De Vos / 331-6407

Meijer Campus
Room 119

Hours vary: check the Writing Center home page at http://www4.gvsu.edu/wc/

Computers: You will find helpful background material, discussion questions, images, useful web sites and presentations linked to the online syllabus. We will also have a class bulletin board on Blackboard. At times, specific homework assignments will require that you use the online materials or post messages and respond to the messages of your classmates and professors. Sometimes you will be asked to answer specific discussion questions, or you will be given a specific assignment. You are also always encouraged to express your own views and responses to the works we read.

Grading: Final grades will be based on your papers (55%) exercises, quizzes, class participation (15%), and the midterm and final (30%). Because grades are meant to reflect your effort in a course, plagiarism will be punished severely. At the least, you will receive an F for the paper; you may fail the entire course. For more information on the University's policy on plagiarism, see sections 223.00 and following in the Student Code. If you have any questions about plagiarism, don't hesitate to ask.

Grade Chart:

Preparation and Participation
(includes reading quizzes; online work)

15 %

Essay #1

15 %

Essay #2

20 %

Essay #3

20 %

Midterm Exam

15 %

Final Exam

15 %



  1. Take detailed notes
  2. . It's OK to write in your book, or to take notes on a separate sheet of paper as you read. Write down any questions you may have, interesting points, characters' names, key phrases, key concepts, and major details.  

  3. Prepare.
  4. If you were leading the discussion, what would you want to explore in detail? Which probing question would you use to start off the discussion? What connections can you make between what you're reading and what you know from elsewhere? Think of yourself as a literary or historical detective; as you decode the story, what mysteries do you solve, what information do you gain? Ask yourself, "what's in it for me?"—what do I have now that I didn't before I read this (new information? new insight? entertainment? a sense of a special craft? a new way of thinking? a chance to put myself in someone else's shoes? an affirmation of or a challenge to what I had been thinking?).  

  5. Even the shy can learn to speak
  6. in class. The more involved you are in a course, the more interested and interesting you will become. Also, as difficult as it is to participate if you are shy (we both know because we once were), it is an important way to learn in a humanities class. You learn by reading the assignments and by doing research and writing a paper; you learn just as much by participating in well-guided discussions. The free exchange of ideas sharpens and clarifies our own ideas and helps us support our positions more effectively. (Regardless of your major, these are vital skills for any job, important life skills, really). If you're shy, come to class with at least one point you have decided in advance that you will make. After a few classes, discussing will be much easier!  

  7. Ask questions
  8. No question is too silly or unimportant. Chances are very good that others will have the same or similar questions too.

  9. Be here now.
  10. Commit the time and energy it takes to do this course well. Cultivate intellectual curiosity. University life is (or ought to be) more than just putting in 4+ years to get some job. Students who understand what a University education can be share this quality of intellectual curiosity—they are interested in finding out about the world around them, in discussing ideas, in thinking through issues and problems our society (and each one of us) faces. Use every assignment as an opportunity to find out more about something that interests you. Keep an open mind (part of cultivating intellectual curiosity is identifying new interests). A teacher offers possibilities—only you can make them meaningful for yourself!