English 45B

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2017 Goldsmith, Steven
MW 3-4 + discussion sections F 3-4 60 Barrows

Book List

Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume C; Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume D; Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice; Brown, Charles Brockden: Wieland; or the Transformation; Franklin, Benjamin: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Melville, Herman: Billy Budd and Other Stories


Our course begins at sea, with the “violent storm” and shipwreck of Gulliver’s Travels, and ends with Benito Cereno’s strange maritime encounter at “a small, desert, uninhabited island” off the southern tip of Chile.  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

201 Walton, Alex
F 3-4 175 Barrows
202 Eisenberg, Emma Charlotte
F 3-4 155 Barrows

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List