Alienation, deprivation, solitude, and starting anew may be prevalent ideas in contemporary dystopian storytelling, but the physical and psychological circumstances of running aground have long been fertile ground for writers. The course will reflect on the precursors of such narratives, beginning in the eighteenth century with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The early literature of being stranded will lead to more contemporary work by Muriel Spark, J. M. Coetzee, and J. G. Ballard, the poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Derek Walcott, and the movie The Martian. The course will ask students to consider the evolution of ideas about exile from colonialism to more modern concepts of human alienation; to reflect on the character of the island and the islander; to examine those ways in which the Crusoe myth can be interpreted, reinvented, and subverted; and to study the various personas of the castaway, among them refugee, adventurer, inventor, outcast, and seer.
Delivery Method: Hybrid in-person and remote, with faculty in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
M/Th 1:40PM-5:20PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years
Categories: All courses , Literature , Updates