ENGL 494 A: Honors Seminar

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
SAV 140
Monika Kaup
Monika Kaup

Syllabus Description:

104 Ukiyo-e | Under The Wave Off Kanagawa Beige – Musubi

Professor Monika Kaup

                                    The Novel and the Sea

Waterways and maritime spaces have played an important role in the history of the modern novel. Because sea stories are travel stories, maritime narratives tend to transcend the framework of the nation whose evolution is linked to the novel genre. Novels are typically associated with terra firma, yet many of the modern novel’s themes and techniques have been developed via the representation of acquatic spaces: exploration and adventure, heroism in adversity, the rise of capitalism, imperialism and slavery, stream of consciousness and the representation of interiority, contemporary globalization and mass displacement, and the climate change scenario of rising sea levels. The various chronotopes of the sea—the ship (microcosm of the nation), the shore (liminal zone between land and sea), the open ocean (the space of lawlessness, chaos, and adventure), the island (land besieged by water: the colony, the outpost, shipwreck, survival on the edge of chaos)—are also the settings of major novels in the anglophone tradition, many of which we will study in this course:


Required Primary Works:

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719) 2nd ed. Norton Critical Ed.

Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno” (1855) in Melville's Short Novels. Norton Critical Ed.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931) Penguin

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea  (1952) Simon and Schuster

Francisco Goldman, The Ordinary Seaman (1997) Grove

Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (2004) ISBN 978-080-213-5483

I recommend ordering the specific editions listed here because these are the editions we will be referring to in class.


There will be a small course reader with required secondary readings (posted on canvas).

Written Assignments: 10-12 pp research paper

Catalog Description: 
Survey of current issues confronting literary critics today, based on revolving themes and topics. Focuses on debates and developments affecting English language and literatures, including questions about: the relationship of culture and history; the effect of emergent technologies on literary study; the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Honors Course
Last updated: 
May 20, 2021 - 7:22am