English 138

Studies in World Literature in English: Orphans, Feral Children, Runaways—Strange Childhood in World Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2018 Saha, Poulomi
TTh 2-3:30 note new location: 102 Wurster


From Harry Potter to Oliver Twist, the figure of the orphan is a much beloved literary trope. Why do children have to be denuded of family ties in order to set off on self-making adventures? What in the traditional family form hinders our development, our growth, our wayward fun? This course examines the phenomenon of children outside of normative families-- orphans, feral children, runaways-- to ask about the relationship between family and self in world literature. We will inquire into theories of psychic development, histories of the family, and the bildungsroman. This course looks to literary, cinematic, and television depictions of strange childhoods to consider how these odd upbringings are implicated in visions of the nation and of imperial power. 

Readings may include: Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre; Ghosh, Amitav: The Shadow LInes; Golding, William: Lord of the Flies; Kipling, Rudyard: Kim

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