Convenor: Dr Sarah Knight
Course code: EN7225
This module will consider how the idea of the ‘journey’ developed across two centuries of English literary history. Between the sixteenth and the late seventeenth centuries, the theme of the journey became increasingly important in literature as the world writers knew expanded, and as early modern writers became inspired by the new possibilities for travel due to technological innovations and the growing permeability of national boundaries.
Conceived metaphorically, the journey was variously represented as an image of spiritual and moral progression, whether as an epic path down to hell or a pilgrimage made to an elevated devotional place; as a means of prompting literary meditation on home and nostalgia; and as a way of imagining the exotic and unknown.
An introductory team-taught seminar will introduce students to some of the module’s key themes and topics, and thereafter the seminars will include topics such as:
- travellers, performers and deceit;
- descents to the underworld in Homer, Virgil, and Spenser;
- early modern travel writing on Europe;
- John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress;
- John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
One 4000 word essay.