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EN940 Travel, Literature, Anglo-empires

(Module running in 2015-16)

Tutor: Prof. Pablo Mukherjee
Autumn Term: Thursday 11.00-1.00

Content: Travel Writing has emerged as a rapidly expanding and dynamic field of study that is structured by theoretical and interpretative concerns raised by Postcolonial Studies and Colonial Discourse Analysis, Cultural Materialism/Studies and contemporary Gender Studies. This MA module offers students an opportunity to analyse key nineteenth-century and contemporary British and Anglophone travel writing and investigate such questions as – what is the role played by travel writing in the formation of the structures of imperialist dominance and resistance to such dominances? What is the relationship between travel writing and issues such as transculturation and global networks of modern capitalism? How does travel writing form as well as investigate gendered subjects and subjectivities? What is the relationship between travel writing and various kinds of nationalisms? What is the traffic between travel writing and other literary genres such as novels?

The module will require extensive literary and cultural research, engagement with critical theory, historical investigations, close textual analyses and will contribute to the student’s acquisition of the skills required to progress to a doctoral level. Students will introduce readings to the class, and produce a long essay on the course.

Schedule: The module will run for 10 weeks. Topics and texts to be treated are as follows:

1. Introduction: Travel, Literature, Empire
Selections from: Pratt, Mary Louis Imperial Eyes: Travel writing and Transculturation ; Grewal, Inderpal Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel; Clark, S.H. In Transit: Travel Writing and Empire and Adams, Percy, Travel Literature and the Evolution of the Novel.

2. Writing India 1:
Emily Eden, Up the Country

3. Writing India 2:
Rudyard Kipling, The Man who would be King

4. India revisited:
V.S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness

5. Stalking Africa:
Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa

6. Africa and ‘darkness’:
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

7. Recasting Africa:
Alain Mabanckou, The Lights of Pointe-Noire

8. Islamic encounters 1:
Richard Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Medinah and Mecca, vol.1.

9. Islamic encounters 2:
Freya Stark, A Winter in Arabia

10. Imagining ‘belief’:
Jonathan Raban, Arabia

 

Illustrative Bibliography:

Primary Texts

Emily Eden, Up the Country
Rudyard Kipling, Kim; The Man who would be King
V.S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness
Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darknes
Alain Mabanckou, The Lights of Pointe-Noire
Richard Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Medinah and Mecca, vol.1.
Freya Stark, A Winter in Arabia
Jonathan Raban, Arabia

Secondary Texts

Adams, Percy Travel Literature and the Evolution of the Novel (Lexington: Univerfsity of Kentucky Press, 1983)
Blanton, Casey Travel Writing: The Self and the World (London and New York: Routledge, 2002)

Clark, S.H. Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit (London and New York, Zed Books, 1999)
Duncan, S.H. Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing (London: Routledge, 1999)
Gikandi, Simon Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996)
Gilbert, Helen In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire (New York and Oxford: Peter Lang, 2002)
Grewal, Inderpal Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel (Durham; Duke University Press, 1996)
Hooper, Glenn Perspectives on Travel Writing (Aldershot: Ashgate 2004)
Holland, Patrick and Graham Huggan, Tourists with Typewriters (Ann Arbor, Mich.; University of Michigan Press, 2000)

Hulme, Peter and Youngs, Tim The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge and New York: CUP, 2002)

Leask, Nigel Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel writing 1770-1840 (Oxford and New York: OUP, 2002)
Lisle, Debbie The Global Politics of Contemporary Travel Writing (Cambridge: CUP, 2006)

Low, Gail White Skins/Black Masks (London and New York, 1996)
Mills, Sara Discourses of Difference (London and New York, Routledge, 1991)
Pratt, Mary Louis Imperial Eyes: Travel writing and Transculturation (London and New York: Routledge, 1992)
Spurr,David The Rhetoric of Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993)

Pablo Mukherjee BA,MA (Calcutta); M.Phil. (Oxford); P.hd (Cambridge) – Professor

Research interests in Imperialism and Popular Cultures, Victorian Literature, Imperialism, colonialism and post-colonialism, South Asian and African Literatures, Journalism and Literature, Law and Literature,Environment and Literature