Conceptual Map of the Course: click here

Final Paper Guidelines: click here

Course Readings


Behn, Oronooko, ed. Gallagher, Bedford, ISBN: 0312108133

Carretta, ed., Unchained Voices, Kentucky, ISBN: 0813190762 *OR* 0813108845

Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ed. Shinagel, Norton, ISBN: 0393964523

Shakespeare, The Tempest, ed. Hulme, Norton, ISBN: 0393978192

Susan Bruce, ed., Three Early Modern Utopias, ISBN: 0199537992

Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Penguin, ed. Rawson, ISBN: 0192805347

Winkfield, The Female American, ed. Burnham, ISBN: 1551112485

Plus a set of texts to be printed out, the first a brief essay: 

D. Graham Burnett, “A Little Travel Is a Dangerous Thing,” from Lapham’s Quarterly 2.3 (Summer 2009):187-94. 

The rest are PDFs from the Course Documents page:

James Harrington, Oceana, my selections (70 pages).

J.G.A. Pocock, "Introduction," The Commonwealth of Oceana and A System of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Christopher Hill, "James Harrington and the People," Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century (Secker and Warburg, 1958) 299-313.

Benjamin Franklin, “The Speech of Miss Polly Baker,” from Max Hall, Benjamin Franklin and Polly Baker: The History of a Literary Deception (University of North Carolina Press, 1960) 157-67.

Benjamin Franklin, "Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c.," from Franklin: The Autobiography and Other Writings on Poblitics, Economics, and Virtue, ed. Alan Houston (Cambridge University Press, 2004) 215-21.

Denis Diderot, “Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville,” in Diderot: Political Writings, trans. John Hope Mason and Robert Wokler (Cambridge University Press, 1992) 31-75.

Herman Melville, Typee, chapter 10. 

Author Unknown, History of Constantius and Pulchera, eds. Faherty and White (30 pages)

Course Schedule

Jan 28:  Course introduction

Feb 4: More, Utopia; Bacon, New Atlantis

Feb 11: Shakespeare, Tempest; Montaigne, “Of Cannibals”

by Feb 15: Write-Up of Criticism due to me via e-mail at Choose one of the following six essays and write an essay of 4 pages commenting on its claims and relating the critic to Shakespeare’s text and perhaps the larger topics of the course. George Lamming, “A Child, a Monster, a Slave”; Stephen Orgel, “Prospero’s Wife”; John Gillies, “Shakespeare’s Virginian Masque”; Peter Hulme, “Prospero and Caliban”; Barbara Fuchs, “Conquering Islands”; Leah Marcus, “The Blue-Eyed Witch”

Feb 18 President’s Day holiday

Feb 25 No class—instructor at conference

Mar 4 Behn, Oronooko

In-class powerpoint presentation here

by Mar 8: Write-Up of Primary Source due. Your topic is to write an essay of at least 3 pages that relates a primary historical source in our edition of Oronooko to some topic relevant to the course. This should be sent to me via e-mail.

Mar 11 Harrington, Oceana; Neville, Isle of Pines

Mar 18 Spring Break

Mar 25 Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Apr 1 Winkfield, The Female American

Apr 8 Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Thursday, April 11:  Withdrawal and Pass/Fail Deadline

Apr 15 Patriot’s Day

by April 19: Proposal for the Final Project due to me via e-mail.

Apr 22 Selections from Carretta (Equiano, Marrant)

Apr 29 Franklin, Diderot, Melville; Constantius and Pulchera

May 6 Presentations of Final Projects

May 13 Presentations of Final Projects

by Friday, May 17: Papers due via e-mail.


You will do two presentations. One will be a presentation of your research project during one of the final two weeks of the term. The other presentation will select features from the week’s readings which you think will produce discussion or provide a helpful point of entry into the major issues of that week. A good presentation may do one or more of the following: (a) offer close readings of selected texts; (b) make connections between readings and across weeks; (c) provide an overview of the criticism/interpretation we have read; (d) incorporate outside research (such as our “reserve” texts) on texts, authors, historical background, and so forth; (e) pose questions about aspects of the reading that were particularly difficult or knotty or vexed; (f) discuss options for teaching the materials. You should plan on speaking for about 15 minutes. Please circulate a handout at your presentation. A sign-up sheet will be passed around in week 2.