Summer 2018 - WL 306 D100

Transnational Literary Rebellions (4)

Class Number: 4239

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SWH 10051, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Investigates cross-cultural literary movements that challenge the status quo. Focal points might include romanticism, modernism, existentialism, or other cultural and political tendencies, with attention to how such styles or movements gain impetus in new national/regional settings. This course may be repeated for credit when different topics are offered. Breadth-Humanities.


ROMANTICISM & THE EXOTIC : Revolt, Desire, Orientalism: 
Romanticism has been seen as a reaction against the claims of enlightenment reason and order, and the recognition that the European “world view” has only ever been one among many. It has also been described as an era in which the contents of art and thought surpassed their own limitations, fulfilling the imagination’s promise of ‘infinite inner space’. Despite Rousseau’s revolutionary ideas concerning individual dignity, the romantic era was a period of colonial expansion and intermingling. The contestation between places and world cultures frames our course theme: what happens when the inner workings of the European imagination are confronted by the equally sublime otherness of the actual world?   

While we begin with the European notions anchoring the romantic period as an ideology, our focus will also be on the colonial periphery – with special reference to contemporary scandals surrounding the treatment of ‘subject’ peoples. Our various short works move from Western Europe, to Romanticist notions of alterity concerning problematically exotic landscapes & peoples, repression & self-expression in Scandinavia, & interracial transgression in South East Asia.  

As the romantic image is central to the art of the period, we begin each class by reviewing paintings alongside literary or theoretical works. By exploring exoticism, orientalism, and the sublime as modes of the romantic imaginary, students come to comprehend the full scope of romanticism’s darker performativity at the crossings of inner experience, Gothic extravagance, and the global other.







  • Participation & Attendance 15%%
  • Project: The Romantic Image 15%%
  • Short Paper 20%%
  • Midterm 20%%
  • Term Paper & Bibliography 30%%



Origin… of the Sublime, 1757 Edmund Burke IRELAND (Penguin 978-0140436259)           

Paul and Virginia
, 1788 B de Saint Pierre FRANCE (provided online) 

The Marquise of O-----
, 1808 Heinrich von Kleist GERMANY (Penguin 978-0140443592)

, 1890 Knut Hamsun NORWAY (Farrar Straus 978-0374531102)         

Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force)
, 1900 Louis Couperus DUTCH East Indies (Pushkin 978-1906548926)

EXCERPTS [PROVIDED]: Readings & viewings in German & European Romanticism and Orientalism: cinema / painting / poetry

Registrar Notes:

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