English 45B

Literature In English: Late-17th Through the Mid-19th Century

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2007 Goldsmith, Steven
Goldsmith, Steven
MW 2-3, plus one hour of discussion section per week (all sections F 2-3) 277 Cory

Other Readings and Media

Norton Anthology of English Literature , Volume C; Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. D; Austen, J.: Pride and Prejudice (Broadview); Brown, C.: Wieland (Penguin); Franklin, B.: Autobiography (Penguin); Melville, H.: Benito Cereno: A Cultural Edition ( Bedford ); Shelley, M.: Frankenstein (Broadview)


Our course begins at sea, with the �violent storm� and shipwreck of Gulliver�s Travels, and ends at sea in Benito Cereno, with a tragic convergence of Europe , America , and Africa , just off �a small, desert, uninhabited island toward the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili .� These scenes of dislocation correspond to the rise of modernity that forms our topic. Eighteenth- and nineteenth- century modernity involves a variety of new or accelerating instabilities: epistemological uncertainty; cultural relativism in newly imagined global contexts; the transformation of economic value from land to (liquid) capital; linguistic self-consciousness in a rapidly expanding print culture; and altered forms of subjectivity navigating the new political rhetoric of republicanism, freedom, and individualism. The subtitle of Wieland sums up our course in a word: �The Transformation.� Throughout, we will ask what literary anxieties and opportunities such �transformation� entails, at a time when everything solid�self, world, and society�turns fluid, as if at sea.

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