Course Code
ENAM 0920
Course Type
Subject Credit
Course Availability

The country house is more than the sum of its bricks and mortar.  In the British imagination it has represented everything from the height of cultural and political capital, to the decline and fall of old social structures. Through readings of literature, this module will introduce students to the chequered story of the country house in relation to British history.  We will read poems presenting country houses as pastoral retreats from political upheaval in the seventeenth century, and in contrast, texts showing the vast array of labour and trade that sustained the luxury of eighteenth century mansions. The course links together the literary presentation of rural seats with the aesthetic and moral principles that have governed their construction and appreciation.  Students can read Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park in light of Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism, and look at the symbolic functions of stately homes in the wake of war in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.  By setting patriotic texts alongside satires and critiques, the course will introduce students to some of the diverse cultural arguments that stately homes have provoked, which continue to be relevant today.