Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

American Travelers

ENGL 286.301
TR 10:30-12

This course will examine three archetypal journeys in American literature and culture: Going West, Going Abroad, and Going Home. We'll focus on such motives for travel as quest for identity, search for adventure and opportunity, erotic desire, expatriatism, and nostalgia. Readings, in addition to travel essays and short stories,  may include the following:  Going West -- Roughing It, Mark Twain; Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer; or All The Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy; Going Abroad -- The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton; Giovanni's Room, James Baldwin; or Under the Tuscan Sun, Helen Mayes; Going Home -- Surfacing, Margaret Atwood; Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier, or Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, Andrew Pham . We'll consider the influence of gender, race, age, and ethnic origin on one's travel motives and perceptions, as well as the relation of fiction to non-fiction. Course work will include frequent brief response papers, a mid-term essay, an autobiographical essay on travel, and a final paper combining course readings with independent research.

fulfills requirements