English 45B

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2014 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: Autobiography; 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. 

Discussion Sections

101 Weiner, Joshua J
F 10-11 151 Barrows
102 O'Connor, Megan
F 10-11 175 Barrows
103 Sirianni, Lucy
F 10-11 104 Barrows

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