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Literature of British Imperialism: The Other Without, the Other Within

ENGL 493.920
instructor(s):
MW 5:30-8:10

How do Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories relate crime in London to British rule over India? How is Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" concerned with that nation's control over Ireland? Such literary texts demand to be read in terms of issues of identity and domination that their age shares with our own. After reading critical texts by Salman Rushdie, Edward Said, and Peter Stallybrass and Allon Whits to gain an appropriate framework, we will examine novels, stories, and other works dealing with imperial and colonial expansion. We will juxtapose fiction depicting this expansion (such as Harriet Martineau's "Dawn Island" and Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"), travel narratives, and texts in which demonized alien realities from "the East" are seen to "infect" English life and the individual English psyche (Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kubla Khan," Thomas De Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater"). Among the other writers whose works we may be studying are Daniel Defoe, Wilkie Collins, Rudyard Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, and E.M. Forster.