English - Free topic 13: The English Abroad: Eighteenth Century Travel Narratives

Course content

This course covers the period from 1700-1820 with a focus on texts that describe travel to places outside Britain. This is not to say that we are not interested in Britain itself: during this period what it meant to be British was worked out and consolidated through colonialism and other kinds of movements abroad.  The genres of the travel narrative and the novel were developed (in texts such as Robinson Crusoe), contested (in texts such as Gulliver’s Travels), and intermingled in cases where readers remained unsure about the truth of the reports they were reading.  Sentiment, one of the important concepts of the century, developed in tandem with a growing awareness of people who were not British, including the slaves who become writers during this period.  And British Romanticism draws on the experience of landscapes beyond England (such as the Scandinavian ones that Wollstonecraft encounters). In the last weeks of the course we will focus on Mansfield Park, a very British novel that comes to light in new ways when it is read with an understanding of the colonial world of which England was the centre. 

Required Texts: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (Broadview); Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (Penguin); Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland (Penguin); Mary Wollstonecraft, Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (Penguin); Mathew Lewis, Journal of a West India Proprietor (Oxford); Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Oxford)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • English
  • 204,75