Politics, culture & the Arts in 18th century Britain - Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Politics, culture & the Arts in 18th century Britain

Crédits ECTS : 6.0

Volume horaire CM : 12.0

Volume horaire TD : 12.0

Code ELP : MIA2Y31

Composante : UFR Langues et Civilisations

Période de l'année : Printemps

Formes d'enseignement : Non accessible à distance


1ere partie (semaines 1 à 6):
Rémy Duthille, "Britain and the French Revolution: The Political Culture of the 1790s".
This seminar offers an introduction to the political culture of the 1790s in Britain, a decade that was shaken by the French Revolution and its repercussions, mainly the "French Wars" against revolutionary, and later, imperial France from 1793 to 1815. The French Revolution occasioned a major controversy on the fundamental questions of politics. The legitimacy of obedience and resistance, the normative value of traditions and established churches, the primacy of individual rights, the nature and importance of duties of loyalty and allegiance were all questioned. Questionings extended beyond such political-constitutional issues to include social hierarchies, economic inequalities, marriage, family life and gender roles. The seminar will examine the diversity of reactions to the French events as the revolution unfolded and took an ever more violent course. The focus will move on to the social and economic issues which were part of the“French Revolution debate”.
The seminar will include readings from canonical works by Richard Price, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Helen Maria Williams and Mary Wollstonecraft, along with texts by less famous writers and pamphleteers. Those texts will be confronted with graphic caricature and extracts from novels, in order to probe the intertextual and intermedial nature of the debates of the 1790s.

2ème partie (semaines 7 à 12):
Joël RICHARD, "Music, politics and religion in 18th-century Britain”.
This seminar aims at studying the rich connections between the worlds of music, politics and religion in 18th-century Britain. Following George Frederic Haendel’s arrival in England in 1712 (originally as Georg Friedrich Händel from Germany), the production of court music, operas and religious oratorios resulted from an intense and fruitful dialogue between composers, men of the Church and the world of politics. While composers, Handel and others, massively sought inspiration from the stories told in the Old Testament, the Anglican church viewed music as a means to “illustrate” its belief that England was, indeed, the New Jerusalem. Politicians – mostly the Crown and the Court – extensively relied on musical compositions, commissioned or not, to build up the Nation’s narrative. Although never an official composer per se, Haendel played a major role in this cultural/religious/political project. His many hymns, odes and oratorios form a coherent body of musical works whose religious, political and ideological dimension offers a fascinating insight into a more general issue: how can art take part in the building up of a nation’s identity?

Students DO NOT need to know how to read music to take up this seminar. Written sources from librettos, newspapers, diaries, letters, pamphlets as well as simply listening to pieces of music will serve as a diverse and easily accessible material for the various presentations.

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