Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL4450 TOBIN, MARY TR 3 :30 PM 0250


The Global Eighteenth Century

This course examines British literary texts that attend to issues of empire, race, travel, colonialism, cross-cultural encounters, and multiculturalism in the period. We will read canonical British literary texts (Pope, Defoe, Austen, Sheridan) that figured the globe as Britain's to harvest and harness as well as literature that depicts colonial sites and contact zones of the British empire set in early America, Africa, the West Indies, and India. Diverse eighteenth-century genres, including novels, poems, travel narratives, memoirs, letters, and essays--will be paired with a range of scholarly approaches to oceanic travel, colonialism, and imperialism, as students consider the circulation of people, commodities, and ideas across global trade routes. The course will examine texts that depict the “Black Atlantic” and Britain’s role in the slave trade, its investment in plantation slavery, and slave revolt in the British West Indies. Additionally, the course will include travel narratives describing British travel to the Ottoman empire, Britain’s “Voyages of Discovery” in the Pacific, and its colonial presence in India. Students will explore how eighteenth-century literature and culture were shaped by and contributed to perceptions of nationalism, geography, race, commerce, gender, and place.


Students will produce approximately twenty pages of writing in a variety of formats that could include papers, examinations, presentations, and short responses.


Possible texts:

Poetry by Alexander Pope, James Thomson, James Grainger, Hannah More, William Cowper


Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal (1777)


Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (1688)

Daniel Defoe,  Robinson Crusoe  (1719)

William Earle, Obi; or The History of Three-Fingered Jack (1800)

Anonymous, The Woman of Colour, A Tale (1808)

Memoirs, Letters, Journals, and Travel Narratives:

Turkish Embassy Letters by Mary Wortley Montagu  (1763)

Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, An African (1782)

The Journals of Captain Cook (1785)

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (1789)

Dean Mahomet, The Travels of Dean Mahomet (1794)

Anna Maria Falconbridge, Two Voyages to Sierra Leone (1794)

Mary Anne Parker, A Voyage Around the World (1795)

Mary Prince, A History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831)