English 190

Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2017 Sorensen, Janet
TTh 9:30-11 C57 Hearst Field Annex Pre-1800 Requirement
British 18th-Century
Research Seminars

Other Readings and Media

See below.


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 explore formal techniques that attempted to bring the faraway spaces of the sea and the distant figure of the sea traveller home to British readers. We’ll read theories of sentiment and sympathy to think about how remote figures become compatriots with whom readers might feel. We’ll consider how print representations of an alien wooden world—the ship at sea—and of globe-travelling sailors constituted them, nonetheless, as British, particularly through depictions of nautical language. Pirates posed a challenge to this image of sailors, and we’ll think too about the significance of the popularity of pirate narratives. Exploring the imaginative possibilities the sea presented, we’ll read aesthetic theory to think about how the sea and sailors’ experiences at sea might function as aesthetic objects and perceptions. Our readings might take us in several alternative but clearly adjacent directions—imperial discourse, slavery, trans-Atlantic studies, literature and science—and other interests students might bring to the table, and students’ interests will shape some of our class discussions and certainly the research writing. We will move between seminar discussions on the readings and, increasingly as the semester moves forward, conversations about research and writing practices in the preparation of a 20-page research paper.  

Provisional Book List:  Daniel Defoe, Captain Singleton; A General History of Pirates; Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative; Tobias Smollett, Roderick Random; Frances Burney, Evelina; Poetry of John Dryden, James Thomson, William Falconer, William Cowper, Samuel Taylor Coleridge; accounts of the voyages of William Dampier, George Anson, and James Cook. Archival research materials might include naval songs, logs and journals of voyages. Philosophical writings of Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and recent scholarship on writing and the sea, including James Bunn, Margaret Cohen and Ian Baucom.

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

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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190/2 Research Seminar: Transsexual Literatures and Cultures Lavery, Grace
190/3 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.
190/5 Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I Starr, George A.
190/6 Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature Miller, Jasmin
190/7 Research Seminar Stancek, Claire Marie
190/8 Research Seminar: Edgar Allan Poe Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/9 Research Seminar: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln Otter, Samuel
190/10 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/11 Research Seminar: Willa Cather Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/13 Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema Knapp, Jeffrey
190/14 Research Seminar Miller, D.A.
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Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Melville in the 50s Goldsmith, Steven
190/2 Research Seminar: Laughter and Vision: Explorations in the Novel of Ideas Danner, Mark
190/3 Research Seminar: Representations of Coercion and Resistance in African American Slave, Jim Crow, and Neo-slave Narratives JanMohamed, Abdul R.
190/4 Research Seminar: William Blake Goldstein, Amanda Jo
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190/2 Research Seminar: James Joyce Flynn, Catherine
190/3 Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville Tamarkin, Elisa
190/4 Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully Breitwieser, Mitchell
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190/6 Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel Kolb, Margaret
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190/1 Research Seminar: Britain in the ‘60s Gang, Joshua
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190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
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190/6 Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global Bahr, Stephanie M
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190/9 Research Seminar: Beowulf Thornbury, Emily V.
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