English 100

Junior Seminar: Late 18th-Century British Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Murphy, Fiona
Murphy, Fiona
MW 1:30-3 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

James Boswell/ Samuel Johnson: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides/ Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland; Tobias Smollett: Humphry Clinker; Richard Brinsley Sheridan: School for Scandal; Mary Wollstonecraft: Letters From Sweden; Olaudah Equiano: Interesting Narrative; Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (optional)


The theme of this course is the discourse of travel in later eighteenth-century British literature. In this, the period of the �grand tour,� developing ideas of cultural identity and national identity inflect travelers� perceptions of both the foreign and the domestic, and vice versa. Readings include both the impressions of fictional travelers who venture abroad and within Britain itself, and also a selection of biographical accounts of such journeys. In addition, we will study issues surrounding the horror of travel in the eighteenth century, specifically focusing on the narrative of a former slave who recounts both his abduction and transportation from Africa and his eventual voyages as a free man. We will concentrate on these writers� preoccupations with questions of what constitutes British-ness (or, in some cases, specifically English-ness or Scottish-ness), what the relationships are between the �civilized� and the �primitive,� and notions of human history and human progress. The culmination of the Senior Seminar in a 20-page research paper, and part of the focus of the class will be learning how to do literary research and integrate the opinions of others into our own, whether as supplement or counterpoint. There will also be a final exam.

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