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You are here: Home Courses Middlebury-CMRS Course List ENAM 0910 / LITS 0910 Writing New Worlds, 1600-1900 - only offered Spring 2018

ENAM 0910 / LITS 0910 Writing New Worlds, 1600-1900 - only offered Spring 2018

[Please note: This seminar is offered for the Spring 2018 semester. It is not offered in Autumn 2017. Each seminar runs subject to sufficient student demand.] This seminar explores the ways in which Anglophone writers from c.1600 to c.1900  responded to the broadening of horizons – geographic, scientific, and intellectual – that characterized the modern world.  As the British Empire expanded, writers and readers alike were confronted with the existence of human experience outside of Europe: Australia, India, Africa, the Atlantic World, and continents of the imagination.  They reacted with curiosity as well as fear, triumphalism as well as self-doubt.  Taking in poetry, novels, letters, journalism, scientific writing, autobiography and drama, the seminars will lead us to ask questions about what happened to British identity in contact with ‘the foreign’.   It interrogates key notions in the contemporary critical repertoire, such as post-colonialism, Orientalism, and ideas of alterity and the Other.

Sample seminars

1 The Invention of Science Fiction

Key text: Cavendish, Blazing World

2 Voyages of Discovery in the 18th Century Imagination

Key text: Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

3 Slavery and British Identities

Key texts: Equiano, Interesting Narrative and Ottobah Cugoano, Narrative of Enslavement

4 Satires of Home

Key text: Elizabeth Hamilton, Letters of a Hindoo Raja 

5 North and South 

Key text: Wollstonecraft, Letters Written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark

6 The End of the World As We Know It

Key text: Mary Shelley, The Last Man

7 Revolutionary Worlds

Key text: Blake, America: A Prophecy

8 Racism, Violence and the Shock of the New(s) 

Key text: Anglo-Indian relations in selected essays from Punch

9 Rethinking the “Human”

Key text: Darwin, The Origin of Species

10 Remembering the Colonial Past

Key text: Our Country’s Good, Timberlake Wertenbaker

Thankful for every moment
I devoured the integral lectures, the seminars, the tea and biscuits, and the charming streets of Oxford. Aided by my tutors, my passion for the human...
Mike Rectenwald, Summer 2000, Geneva College