English 45B

Literature in English: Late 17th- Through Mid-19th Centuries

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2012 Goldsmith, Steven
MW 10-11 + discussion sections F 10-11 3 LeConte

Book List

Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume C; Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume D; Franklin, Benjamin: The Autobiography and Other Writings; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Melville, Herman: Moby-Dick; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein


Our course begins at sea, with the “violent storm” and shipwreck of Gulliver’s Travels, and ends at sea in Moby-Dick, with the Pequod sinking in a “vortex” just above the equator in the Pacific Ocean.   These scenes of oceanic 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.  Throughout the course, we will ask what literary anxieties and opportunities such large scale transformations entail, at a time when everything solid—self, world, and society—turns fluid, as if at sea. 

Please note that this class will first meet on Monday, August 27; discussion sections will not start being held until Friday, August 31.

Discussion Sections

101 Cordes Selbin, Jesse
185 Barrows F 10-11
102 Ding, Katherine
155 Barrows F 10-11
103 Stancek, Claire Marie
175 Barrows F 10-11

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List