New Course in Literature: Literature of the Sea

Discipline: English Literature
Instructor: Paterson
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 14:30
End: 15:45
Field Work: Day 1 | England Download Syllabus

In this class we will study classical literature that captures themes of sea voyages as a source of the unknown and of self-knowledge. We will read stories that follow the spirit of colonialism that haunts shipboard tales and the shipwrecked. Against this classical literature we’ll read chronicles.  Course Descriptions: Erika Paterson of pirates and single-handed sailors and study the narrative of voyaging. We will explore our readings from both a literary perspective concerned with imagining and experiencing life at sea, and a cultural studies context that works to situate the literary in histories of slavery, colonialism, piracy and migrations by sea. In this weaving together of prose literature and essays we will work to explore how sea going voyages shape history — and ourselves. The Field Component of this course will include exploring the ‘culture of sea ports’ and creating visual presentations of local maritime cultures. Students will need a digital camera and cable for uploading images to their laptops.

Special Requirements:
Students will need a digital camera and cable for uploading images to their laptops.

Field Work

Country: England
Day: 1

In the mid afternoon we will embark on a sailing barge from St Katherine's dock area and sail toward the estuary until the sun sets. As we sail students will learn a little about the history of these sailing barges and the role of the River Thames in the process of Empire building. We will have a seasoned sailor, author, researcher and story-teller along with us to help set the scene as we imagine the ships and cargos and sailors and their business on this river in Joseph Conrad's day. We will stop and set anchor, and for a while, as if we are waiting for the tide to turn, we will "consider all of the great world travelers and adventurers whose journeys issued forth from the Thames" (Conrad 1). In return, we will entertain our storytelling host with a re-creation of the opening scene of The Heart of Darkness. Returning to the port after sunset, we will tour the docks of St. Katherine's area, stopping to eat in a local pub and continue our story-telling; eating and thinking and talking about the things that Marlow though about - and by extension, Conrad.