The 1790s and early 1800s were a time of global revolution. The Atlantic world in particular was a cauldron of rebellion: dispossessed peasants filled urban prisons, while landowners expanded their possessions, slaves rebelled against being worked to death on colonial plantations, maritime laborers fought for human rights and tolerable living conditions. Public discourse was filled with revolutionary ideas: Haiti became the first ‘postcolonial’ (Black) republic; the US became a laboratory of democracy. We will explore literary reflections on these spectacular events on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, paying particular attention to how these texts capture the radical spirit of innovation and transformation, while also expressing uncertainty and anxiety about an unpredictable future.
Students are required to purchase a Reader (Copy&Paste), as well as the following texts:
- Equiano, Olaudah (1789) The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings. Ed. Vincent Carretta. Penguin, 2003. ISBN-10: 0142437166
- Brown, Charles Brockden (1798) Wieland; or, The Transformation. Oxford UP, 2009. ISBN-10: 0199538778
- Brown, Charles Brockden (1799) Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker. Penguin, 1988 (ISBN-10: 0140390626) or Hackett, 2006 (ISBN-10: 0872208532)
- Shelley, Mary (1818) Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. Penguin, 2003. ISBN: 0141439475