English | Literatures in English 1600-1800
E302 | 1882 | Sorensen

9:30a-10:45a TR (30) 3 cr.



In this survey of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts in
English we shall use the concept of "contact" between separate
groups as a frame for our studies. The most obvious way in which
this concept applies to the literatures of the period is in terms of
their representations of new contacts with non-European peoples
such as Africans and natives of the Americas. We'll examine texts
produced in those colonial encounters, from records of voyages of
discovery to novels about interactions between historically and
geographically separated groups, including journals of Captain
Cook, Aphra Behn's OROONOKO, Swift's GULLIVER'S
TRAVELS, and former slave Olaudah Equiano's autobiography.

The term "contact," however, originated in the study of linguistics.
We shall also use the concept, then, to think about shifts in the
English language--including literary languages-- throughout these
two centuries. As one of its foremost theorists Mary Louise Pratt
has noted, a contact language is an improvised language that
develops among speakers of different native languages. Yet we
shall test whether the notion of a "contact language" might be a
helpful way for thinking about the negotiations authors made as
they selected and chose among different registers of English to
construct a text. We'll also investigate the "rise of standard
English" in this period--in dictionaries, periodicals, and novels--
and the relationship of standard English to the varieties of English
spoken and written in Britain at this time. Thomas Sprat, Samuel
Johnson, Addison and Steele, and Scots poets Allan Ramsay,
James MacPherson, and Robert Burns will figure here.

Finally, we'll make use of the notion of "contact" on a more
general level, to think about the ways in which separate groups use
writing to devise ongoing relationships with each other, often
under conditions of inequality. Here we'll think about three distinct
sites of contact: men and women (including Robert Herrick,
Margaret Fell Fox, Katherine Philips, Lady Mary Chudleigh, Mary
Astell, Alexander Pope, Samuel Richardson, Lady Mary Wortley
Montagu, et al.), aristocrats and "commoners" (Samuel Pepys, Earl
of Rochester, Delariviere Manley, Daniel Defoe, Stephen Duck,
Mary Jones, Edmund Burke, Thomas Gray, William Blake,
Thomas Paine), and supporters of the Stewart monarchs and, after
the civil war and subsequent "bloodless" revolution, supporters of
their replacements (looking at excerpts from Civil War newsbooks,
Charles I, Andrew Marvell, John Dryden, John Milton John Locke,
Daniel Defoe).

Course requirements will include participation in this discussion-
oriented course, response papers, two long papers, a midterm and
final examination, and one group presentation.