Special Themes in Literature: Encountering the New World

ENGL 3110
David Read
Course Description

In this course we'll study a number of the key texts written in response to a momentous and deeply problematic phase in Western history: the opening of the New World to European conquest and colonization during the early modern period, beginning with the voyages of that now thoroughly controversial figure, Christopher Columbus. The reading will include a number English-language works but also translations of several of the important texts in other European languages. Our goal will be to understand these texts not only as historical documents but as literary expressions of a massive upheaval in the ways that both Europeans and native Americans made sense of the worlds they inhabited—an upheaval the effects of which are still felt to this day.