Jean-Honore Fragonard, "The Reader"

HRS 134 -- The Culture of the Baroque and Enlightenment

California State University, Sacramento
Department of Humanities and Religious Studies
College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2002




HRS 134: The Culture of the Baroque and Enlightenment
Fall 2002

TR 10:30-11:45
MND 1024

George S. Craft
Office: Tahoe 3088 Telephone: 278-6400
Office Hours: W 9:00-10:30 am Email:
                      R 3:00-4:30 pm

Catalog Description: HRS 134. The Baroque and Enlightenment. A multi-faceted survey of the culture of Europe and North America in the Age of the Baroque and Enlightenment (1600-1792). Emphasizes literature, music, painting, architecture and ideas in France, Britain, Germany and Italy. Prerequisite: Passing score on the WPE. 3 units.

Course Description: This course will cover the arts and humanities in Europe (and to a small extent North America) in the 200 years from the time of the completion of St. Peter's Basilica (c. 1590) until Napoleon's arrival in Italy in 1797. The course begins with the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the rise of science and independent reason, and it ends with the profound upheaval of the French Revolution and the beginnings of romanticism. It is a time of brilliance and dynamism in European culture, in almost every sense the real seedbed of modern history. In the 17th century baroque we will emphasize the rise of scientific ideas (Galileo), the incredible variety of Baroque painting and architecture in Italy, Spain and France, and the classic French theater (Molière). The 18th century will feature the reasonable reform-mindedness of the Enlightenment (Voltaire and others), the quest for pleasure in the Rococo, and the impact of the Enlightenment and the Revolution on Germany (Schiller). The religion of the heart seen in the works of Rousseau and Goethe mark the transition to romanticism.

Course Goals/Student Learning Objectives:

By the end of the course, students will have acquired the following:

-- A fundamental understanding of key terms such as ‘Baroque’ and ‘Enlightenment,’ how these terms apply to the different branches of the arts and humanities, and how they vary across national boundaries.

-- An appreciation of the diversity of western civilization in this period.

-- Basic insights into the interrelatedness of the arts and humanities in this period of western civilization.

-- An ability to write an insightful and correctly drafted critical thought essay on issues in the cultural history of this period.

-- An increased personal appreciation of the great works of the arts and humanities produced in the period of the Baroque and Enlightenment.

Required Readings and Other Learning Resources

The following required books are available in the University Bookstore:

Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: An Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love. Supplements the story of Galileo's science with the life of his daughter, a nun. A recent best seller.

Miguel Cervantes, Exemplary Stories. Wonderful short stories and novellas by the famous author of Don Quixote.

J. Guicharnaud (ed.), Seventeenth Century French Drama. Includes plays by Corneille, Molière and Racine.

Abbé Prévost, Manon Lescaut. Very influential love story of pre-romantic 18th century France. Made into operas several times.

Ben Ray Redman, The Portable Voltaire. Contains his famous stories (e.g., Candide), and extensive selections from his Philosophical Dictionary and English Letters.

Friedrich Schiller, Don Carlos and Mary Stuart. The influence of the Enlightenment and the French on German letters. Germany on the verge of change.

A good text is William Fleming, Arts and Ideas. There will be at least one copy on reserve in the University Library.

You will need a three-ring binder for organizing class handouts and assignments.

I will give you numerous handouts of contemporary texts: short stories, excerpts from philosophical and scientific texts (Galileo, Newton, Diderot, etc.), perhaps poetry. We will make extensive use of audio and video resources in class, including a videotape performance of Molière's comedy, Un bourgeois gentilhomme.

The course website will be of great assistance to you. My personal website's address is; then scroll down the page and click on 'HRS 134.' An alternative way to access my webpage is to go the university webpage, type 'george s craft' in the Search box, then click on the 'Faculty Page' item that comes up (probably fourth) in the search results. The course syllabus is available on the course webpage. I will post copies of suggested essay questions, summaries of my lectures and discussions after I give them in class, and most of the instructional materials I hand out in class. Please visit the course website regularly.

Classroom Procedure

Most of class time will be devoted to lectures and a structured discussion of the assigned texts. I will give you precise reading assignments accompanied by study lists when possible. I expect you to have the reading done by the day of the assignment.

Participation in class discussions in important, especially since this is a small class. I will divide you up into "discussion teams" of two students for the reading assignments. Students will be expected to read the assigned material carefully and to help lead the discussion with questions, answers, and informed comments. Student members of a team should stay in touch with one another. Your final grade may be raised or lowered by your discussion performance. When practicable, I will give you a study sheet on the assigned readings to help prepare the discussions.

As most of the learning in this class will probably occur in class, I expect all of you to attend class regularly – at least 85% of the time. You may lose up to one full grade point (e.g., B to C) by poor attendance.

I will be available in my office during my office hours and by appointment if you are unable to come by during office hours. Please feel free to email me for questions/discussion; I am good at answering email messages, and once you get me going, I love to talk to students about these materials. So that you may stay in touch with one another, I will distribute a list of email addresses of students enrolled in this course.

I must emphasize: in this course attending class is very important.

Testing, Writing and Grading

As this is an Advanced Study course, writing is very important.

In the second week of class you will be given a diagnostic essay of about 750 words designed to determine the level of your writing abilities. You will then be assigned three thought papers spaced at equal intervals throughout the semester. The last paper will be due the date of the final exam. Each paper will be about 1500 words and should be typed or written in legible, double-spaced longhand. Expect thus to write about 5000 words. These essays will be critical thought papers, the topics being chosen from a list of essay questions distributed at least two weeks before the due date. It is my commitment to return them to you with written comment within about a week of their submission.

The grade I assign your paper will be affected by both content (depth, inventiveness, cohesiveness of your ideas) and writing style (correctness, clarity and elegance).

The essays should be clearly and correctly written. Grammar and clear expression will count! You should focus on answering the question and not narrating or summarizing the book. The first short paragraph should define the issue and suggest your interpretation. Several short paragraphs making up the body of the essay should develop your ideas and cite characters, events and ideas from the text to back up your interpretation. You must include substantial quotations from the text. You should end up with a short concluding paragraph summarizing your argument or bringing in an interesting new perspective.

Focus on developing your ideas and using the text of your book to back up and illustrate your argument. Do not plagiarize material! When you copy words from a source, you must put them in quotation marks and give a reference (a footnote or endnote). When you paraphrase, there is no need to put your words in quotation marks, but you must give a reference. For reference form, you may use any reasonable system; but I suggest you use a simplified version of MLA form, which will be explained briefly in class. Every paper must have a bibliography (even if it contains only a single book) and adequate references. These instructions will be explained in more detail in the Guidelines for Writing Thought Papers that I will distribute to you later.

I encourage you to consult with me ahead of time about alternative paper topics of particular interest to you. A Humanities tutor will be available to help you write your papers, especially if you have trouble with them. If you receive less than a C+ on any paper, you will be required to consult with the instructor or the Humanities tutor.

You will also have two short answer examinations, one in mid-semester and the other on the final exam date (not comprehensive). They will test basic information and insights covered in class discussions and readings. I will give you study lists to prepare these examinations.

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Diagnostic essay 10%
Main essays @20% each 60%
Two ID exams @20% 30%
Total 100%

Of course, your final grade may be affected by your class participation and especially by your attendance.

Course Outline (Approximate)

Week 1 Introduction to the course. The Age of the Baroque and the Enlightenment. The Concept of the Renaissance, Mannerism and the Baroque. Some painting of the Late Renaissance (Titian) and Mannerism (El Greco).

Week 2 Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in baroque Italy and Flanders. Caravaggio and other painters. The sculpture of Bernini. The architecture of Palladio and Borromini.

Week 3 Diagnostic Essay due. Science in Italy in the early 17th Century. Galileo's contributions to modern physics and astronomy. The exercise of authority in the late Inquisition. Science and Religion. The values of the convent. Galileo and his daughter. Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter.

Week 4 Galileo continued. Isaac Newton. The arts in baroque Spain. Under Philip IV the greatness of Spain is in decline. Painting and architecture in the age of Velazquez, Zurbarán and Murillo.

Week 5 Selections from Cervantes, Exemplary Stories. Society and narrative genres in Spain in 1600.

Week 6 Continue discussion of Exemplary Stories. Music in the late baroque. The evolution of the baroque concerto from Corelli to Vivaldi to Handel to Bach.

Week 7 First Essay Due. Continue discussion of the baroque concerto. France in the Age of Louis XIV. The concept of the French baroque. Classic French tragedy in Jean Racine, Phèdre.

Week 8 Examination #1. French comedy of manners in Molière, Le bourgeois gentilhomme: view performance and discussion.

Week 9 Continue discussion of Le bourgeois gentilhomme. France in the early 18th century: the Regency and the Age of Louis XV. The Age of the Rococo. Abbé Prévost, Manon Lescaut. An early femme fatale.

Week 10 Continue discussion of Manon Lescaut. The rococo in the visual arts. The painting of Boucher and Fragonard. The rococo in Central Europe: votive churches and the frescoes of Tiepolo.

Week 11 Second Essay Due. The art of the garden in the 18th century: from the formality of the French garden to the budding romanticism of the English garden. The European Enlightenment and the smile of reason. Lessing's definition. Ideas of Montesquieu, Rousseau or Diderot.

Week 12 Voltaire. His English Letters and Philosophical Letters. Voltaire's passion for rational inquiry, tolerance, civil liberties, moderate meliorism.

Week 13 (One class period because of Thanksgiving) Voltaire continued: Candide. The evolution of the classical style in music in the late 18th century. The classical symphony in Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

Week 14 The classical symphony continued. Mozart and the origins of modern opera. The French Revolution and Germany.

Week 15 Schiller, Don Carlos and Mary Stuart. German national consciousness and the path to romanticism.

Thursday, Dec. 19, 10:15-12:15 am: Examination #2 (not comprehensive).

Friday, Dec. 20, 3:00 pm: Third Essay Due in the History Office, Tahoe 3080.

Note: All assignment dates are approximate. Schedule changes will be carefully prepared.


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