History 131

                                                      Early Modern Europe, 1500-1815

                                                               Fall Term, 2004-2005

                                                                   Reed Browning




All students should purchase:


Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment, and Frank Turner, The Western Heritage, vol. B.                 

(throughout the syllabus this work will be called the text. )


Benvenuto Cellini, Autobiography

Equiano, Olaudah, An Interesting Narrative ...

[Elizabeth von der Pfalz,] A Woman’s Life at the Court of the Sun King

Franklin, Benjamin, Autobiography

Glủckel von Hameln, Memoirs of Glủckel

Walter, Jakob, Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions


Turabian, Kate, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

(This book is your guide to format choices, citation procedures, and conventions of usage.)



1.   The Renaissance - Text: 290-351


August 30          The Emergence of the State                    

September 1      The New Humanism

September 3      The Reconnaissance


2.   The Reformation - Text: 352-86


September 6      The Protestant Eruption

September 8      Spain and the Defense of Catholic Europe

September 10     Discussion - Cellini, Autobiography, 1-17, 24-40, 45-80, 90-110, 138-56, 169-230, 251-74, 289-305, 327-51, 391-402 [led by me]


3.   The Era of European Crisis - Text: 389-415


September 13     The Thirty Years’ War

September 15     Spanish Recessional

September 17     The World of Cervantes, Montaigne, and Shakespeare                   


4.   The Forging of France - Text: 430-46, 486-88


September 20     The Cardinalate

September 22     The Era of Louis XIV

September 24     Discussion - A Woman’s Life at the Court of the Sun King,, 1-18, 32-44, 54-68, 71-93, 106-30,

137-49, 184-200, 209-19, 234-50, 262-77 [led by Team 1]


5.   The Creative Engagement: Part I - Text: 449-78


September 27     From Palestrina to Bach

September 29     From Handel to Beethoven

October 1          The Edge of Objectivity             

(also due on this day is an OUTLINE for your research essay)


6.   The Fabric of Life - Text: 514-28


October 4          Life and Death: Demography, Kinship and Work

October 6          Discussion: Gl_ckel’s Memoirs [led by Team 2]


October 8        HOUR EXAMINATION                         


7.   The Forging of Britain - Text: 417-30, 489-95


October 11        OCTOBER BREAK                  

October 13        The English Revolutions

October 15        The Consolidation of Britain                    


8.    Europe Encounters the World - Text: 552-72, 582-85


October 18        Sinew of Empire: The Slave Trade

October 20        Discussion - Equiano, Interesting Narrative [led by Team 3]

October 22        [abbreviated class: citation procedure]


9.   The Fulcrum of Power Shifts Eastward - Text: 495-510


October 25        The Rise of Prussia

October 27        The Emergence of Russia

October 29        The Odyssey of Austria


10.   Transformations of the Eighteenth Century - Text: 482-86, 528-47


November 1       The Warfare Society of the Eighteenth Century

November 3       The Beginnings of Industrialization                                  

November 5       Discussion - Franklin, Autobiography [led by Team 4]


11.  The Enlightenment - Text: 572-79, 589-621

November 8       The Central Issues of the Enlightenment

November 10     The Anglo-American World Divides

November 12     Shakespeare to Goethe: Literature and the Making of Human Nature


12.  The Creative Engagement: Part II - Text: 689-701


November 15     From Giotto to Tintoretto           

November 17     From El Greco to Goya  

November 19     Discussion - Rousseau, Confessions [led by several teams]


13.  The French Republic - Text: 625-63


November 29     The Origins of the French Revolution  

December 1       Efforts to Actualize Equality


December 3       **COURSE EVALUATION DAY  (attendance will be taken)**


13.  The French Empire - Text: 667-89


December 6       Napoleon Remakes Europe [RESEARCH ESSAYS DUE]             

December 8       The Empires Strike Back (or: The Emperor Strikes Out)                            

December 10     Discussion: Walter, Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier [led by Team 5]


December 13     Review Session






1. My regular office hours will be from 9:00 to 10:50 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If those are not convenient, we can schedule a meeting for some other time.  My office is Seitz 9. My home phone is 427-3155; my office extension is 5642.


2. Your grade will be based on three reaction papers, your contribution to discussions, one hour examination, one research essay, and one final examination in this course.  Please note that you should submit an outline for your research essay on October 1.  The hour examination is scheduled for October 8, and the research essay is due on December 6.  You may choose which three of the seven books you write reaction papers on, but the papers must be submitted at class on the day of the discussion of the book.  I will not accept late reaction papers.  The reaction papers (in aggregate) count for 15% of the course grade (5% each), discussion counts for 15%, the hour examination counts for 20%, the research essay for 20%, and the final examination for 30%.


3. Starting with the second discussion day (September 24), responsibility for guiding the discussion and instructing the class about the discussion will lie with teams of students that I select.  Every student will be a member of a team.  Teams should prepare for their leadership responsibilities ahead of time.  For more information, see point 7 below.

4. Plagiarism is the use and representation of someone else's work as one's own.  It is the most serious offense that can be committed in an academic community.  We are obliged to acknowledge our debts to the labors of others, and recourse to notes (footnotes or endnotes) is the most typical way of fulfilling that obligation.  Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations gives wonderful advice on building notes and bibliographies. The Student Handbook contains a full discussion of plagiarism.  Please read it.  I will be glad to discuss any issues about plagiarism with any student.


5. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, I would urge that you contact the Office of Disability Services at 5453.  The Coordinator of Disability Services, Erin Salva (salvae@kenyon.edu), will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are appropriate.  All information and documentation of disability is confidential.


6. I encourage the use of foreign languages in student research work.  I realize that few students will be proficient at reading Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or Swedish, and so I'll be pleased to make significant adjustments in expectations if anyone wants to try to do some of the reading for the research essay in a language other than English.  Please speak to me about the possibility if the prospect seems enticing.


7. Because I’m handling the autobiographical readings differently this year, I want to say a bit more about my plan.  These seven readings are all first-person explorations of life in early modern Europe.  They will introduce you to the multiple textures of a pre-modern existence.  They cover a range of time periods, from Benvenuto Cellini’s romp through Renaissance Italy to Jakob Walter’s slogging through Russia in 1812.  They cover a range of experiences, from Olaudah Equiano’s lowly life as a slave to Elizabeth von der Pfalz’s exalted life as sister-in-law to one King of France and mother of another King of France.  They cover a range of visibilities, from Benjamin Franklin’s lofty perch as the most famous American of the eighteenth century (until George Washington surpassed him) to Glückel of Hameln’s obscure life as the mother of a large Jewish family in a northern European ghetto.  They treat a variety of countries and regions -- Italy, France, Germany, England, and colonial North America.  Finally, they include the most famous autobiography of all – Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions.


For our first discussion (Cellini) I will follow a traditional pattern and lead the examination myself.  For five of the remaining discussions (Elizabeth, Glückel, Equiano, Franklin, and Walter) I’ll assign the task of guiding our conversations to teams of students, with each team working out its own procedures for its hour.  In the case of Rousseau – a long work – we’ll do something yet again different: I’ll divide the class into several teams, with the different teams responsible for presentations on different sections of the book.


I’m requiring each student to write essays on three of the seven books. (You have free choice on the three books you write on, but you may not write on the book your team is preparing to lead discussion on.)  In each instance I’d like the essay to be no longer than three pages and address a particular question.  Here is the list of questions you should respond to:


Benvenuto Cellini, Autobiography - In what ways does Cellini’s life embody elements of the Renaissance spirit?


Elizabeth von der Pfalz, A Life at the Court of the Sun King - For historians using first-person writings, what are the important differences between autobiographies and collections of letters?


Glückel von Hameln, Memoirs - What audience did Glückel have in mind for this work?


Olaudah Equiano ,Interesting Narrative - Should this work be regarded preeminently as an account of a man who secures his freedom or as the celebration of a man who found true religion?


Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography - In what ways is Franklin’s America a dramatically different place from the various European countries depicted in the previous autobiographical readings?


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions - How successful is Rousseau in fulfilling his goal of being completely honest about himself?


Jakob Walter, Diary - To what extent is this a work that can be trusted for accuracy?


Remember: a good historical essay makes each sentence count, advances a coherent argument, and supports that argument with evidence.