Special Author(s): Emerson and Thoreau (Q3193)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module will examine the works of two nineteenth-century American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, through a close reading of a selection of their major published writings, lectures, letters, and journals.

We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues that animate their work: religion and philosophy, friendship and love, politics and slavery, scientific knowledge and ecology, aesthetics and poetics, form and representation, women's rights and native American culture.

Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Emerson and Thoreau's work has been appropriated by nineteenth-century contemporaries such as Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, or William James, by American culture at large, as well as by recent literary critics and philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Sharon Cameron, Jane Bennett, Branka Arsic, or Jacques Rancière.


25%: Lecture
25%: Practical (Workshop)
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 300 hours of work. This breaks down into 48 hours of contact time and 252 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: