English 190

Research Seminar: Literature of the Ocean


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2014 Sorensen, Janet
TTh 12:30-2 101 Wheeler

Description

Provisional Book List:  William Wycherley, The Plain-Dealer; Ned Ward, The Wooden World Dissected; Daniel Defoe, Captain Singleton; Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative; Tobias Smollett, Roderick Random; Frances Burney, Evelina; Jane Austen, Persuasion; John Davis, The Post-Captain Poetry of John Dryden; James Thomson, William Falconer, William Cowper, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth.  Archival materials including naval songs, logs and journals of voyages. Philosophical writings of Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and recent scholarship on writing and the sea, including Margaret Cohen, Ian Baucom, and Samuel Baker.

In this seminar we’ll explore literary (and some non-literary) representations of life at sea and of sailors, both offshore and on, primarily but not exclusively during the expansion of Britain’s first empire during the eighteenth century. We’ll consider how print representations of an alien wooden world—the ship at sea—and of globe-travelling sailors constituted them, nonetheless, as part of Britishness itself, and what role language in particular played in these representations. We’ll read theories of sentiment and sympathy to think about how remote figures become compatriots for and with whom readers might feel. We’ll read aesthetic theory to think about how the sea and sailors at sea might function as aesthetic objects. Our readings might take us in several directions—imperial discourse, slavery, trans-Atlantic studies, literature and science, mediation, gender, depictions of labor, and other interests students might bring to the table, and students’ interests will shape some of our class discussions and certainly the research writing.

This section of English 190 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Please read the paragraph on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

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