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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Literary Geography, 1800-1840 (ENLI11276)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines issues of space and place in early nineteenth-century literature. Zooming in and out between Scotland, Edinburgh and the wider world, we will think geographically about the evolution of literary culture during a crucial moment for the history of globalisation ' one that also saw a renewed interest in the local and the national. We will explore a wide range of forms and genres including poetry, memoir, short stories, travel writing, drama, the novel and magazine journalism, paying close attention to what was popular in the period, how and in what forms it was encountered.
Course description The early decades of the nineteenth century first saw the emergence of an international mass market for anglophone literature, one in which Walter Scott, Blackwood's Magazine and the Edinburgh publishing milieu was in the ascendancy. This was a period of migration and mobility in which Britain at large was an increasingly globalised imperial power. Yet it was also a critical moment for what the anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls 'thick description', a close attention to localised cultures, and it saw a flare-up of interest in the literary potential of such specificity across and beyond Scotland.

This course surveys a network of local, regional and (trans)national geographies at work in early nineteenth-century literature. It encourages students to think about how texts mobilise space and place to make meaning, but also the geographical and historical limits shaping the experience of literary culture.

Moving across a series of literary forms and genres with their own distinctive geographical qualities, the course combines the study of traditional (for example, poetry) and untraditional (for example, an issue of a magazine) 'literary' matter. In doing so, it draws attention to the materiality of the printed text and the lived reality of reading experiences in this historical period.

Following an introductory week, the course is divided broadly into three parts: an opening third in which each week digs into a Scottish place that was being reimagined in the period (for example, the Borders, the Trossachs and Edinburgh); a middle third that looks further afield to milieux such as London, the Mediterranean and Caribbean; and a final third that focuses on a series of important literary contexts, such as the tour, the stage and the library.

Each week pairs up the essential primary and secondary reading with an optional, complementary online resource that will flesh out the themes from a multimedia and interdisciplinary perspective.

Approximately two of the ten weekly seminars will be delivered in the Centre for Research Collections, where students will have a chance to inspect early editions of course texts. They will also be shown archival library borrowing records as a way to bring historical reading experiences to life.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically examine Scottish and British literature between 1800 and 1840 from a geographical perspective that takes account of a dynamic, changing sense of place in the period and the role played by literature in articulating it
  2. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of major developments in early nineteenth-century anglophone literary culture in their historical and media contexts, reflecting on the way that texts were originally encountered and consumed in the period
  3. Develop in-depth comparative readings of the role of space and place in literary texts while identifying the contribution made by specific forms and genres in the production of meaning
  4. Evaluate a range of critical approaches in existing scholarship and bring them to bear on the field of early nineteenth-century writing
  5. Employ independent study skills in executing substantial written research projects, including close reading and scholarly referencing
Reading List
Charlotte Smith, Beachy Head (1807)

James Hogg, 'Love Adventures of Mr Geordie Cochrane' (1820), 'The Barber of Duncow'(1831), 'The Cameronian Preacher's Tale' (1828), 'Emigration' (1833)

Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake (1810)

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, June 1820

Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821).

Lord Byron, The Corsair (1814)

Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831)

John Galt, Bogle Corbet (1831)

Dorothy Wordsworth, Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland, A. D. 1803 (1874)

Joanna Baillie, The Family Legend (1810)

Susan Ferrier, Marriage (1818)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Problem solving and research, with a capacity to understand and assess evidence from multiple sources to make reasoned judgements

Personal and intellectual autonomy in managing research projects including determining lines of enquiry and engaging in time management

Effective teamwork branching from ALG collaboration into seminar small groups

Skilled communication in weekly seminar discussions as well as in written form
KeywordsNineteenth century,Scottish Literature,Geography,space and place,region,nation,empire
Course organiserDr Gerard McKeever
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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