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Land, Labor, and Literature in the Long 18th Century

ENGL 748.301
instructor(s):
Tuesday 12-3:00pm

In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, literary writing engaged strenuously with shifts and innovations in forms of landownership and labor, both within England and then across the lands that came under British control. Even when they celebrated changes attendant upon the capitalization of land and labor at home and in plantation society, many writers were aware of social costs. The vocabularies they developed in order to diagnose and condemn these costs continue to be important for analysts of the continuing privatization, across the world, of resources held in common, as well as to those who recognize the beginnings of the holocene-anthropocene transition in land use policies developed in this period. We will read writing in a variety of literary genres, appropriate literary criticism, as well as key texts in social and labor history.