ENGH 309: Topics in Literature

ENGH 309-DL1: Writing New Worlds
(Spring 2021)

10:30 AM to 11:45 AM W


View in the schedule of classes

Section Information for Spring 2021

“O brave new world that has such people in it!” remarks the island-raised Miranda in William Shakespeare’sThe Tempest, encountering humans from beyond the sea for the first time. The line registers the profound impact of a radically expanded worldview. So, too, do the ethnographic accounts, journals, illustrations, and maps that flooded the London print marketplace in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, struggling to keep up with the reports emerging from early colonization efforts in the Americas. How, though, did the writers of Renaissance England incorporate this awareness of—and desire for—a “land of paradise” in their poems, plays, and novels? To answer this question, we will consider how news from the New World, good and bad, inspired novel conceptions of space, race, culture, knowledge, power, and slavery. Our readings, though largely focused on transatlantic movements between England and North America, will invite more general reflections on travel literature’s function in the early colonialist mindset. What is the interest of travel, both as lived experience and as recorded narrative? What are the epistemological and cultural effects of newly “discovered” geographies, ecologies, and peoples? What is the relationship between ethnography and empire, between description and dispossession? Can a travelogue be trusted at all? Ranging from the Tudor era to the early eighteenth century, readings include works by More, Shakespeare, Donne, the New England Puritans, Behn, and Defoe.

ENGH 309 DL1 is a distance learning section taught synchronously.

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 1-3

Studies literature by topics, such as women in literature, science fiction, and literature of the avant garde. Notes: Topic varies. May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies
Recommended Prerequisite: Satisfaction of University requirements in 100-level English and in Mason Core literature.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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