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Dr. Greg Clingham: Capstone: Enlightenment Exotica

EN460/660: Spring 2002
Th: 1.00-3.50 p.m.
Office: VL 233; Taylor 6
Tel: 577-1552/1188

Office Hours

Mondays, 1.15 - 3.30 pm in Taylor Hall; Tuesdays, 11.00 am - 12.00 noon in VL and 1.15-3.30 pm in Taylor Hall; Thursdays, 4.00-5.00 pm in Taylor Hall, and by appointment.


The general objective of this course is to explore notions of the exotic in the British eighteenth century, and to do so in a number of specific linguistic and social contexts.

The Enlightenment in Europe (and North America) is usually considered as an 18th-century movement driven by reason, empirical science, secularism, and philosophical and cultural absolutes. It is a problematic moment in our cultural and literary history because of the strongly ambivalent judgment and feelings it still arouses: it has been lauded as a period of great scientific and artistic progress and civilization, establishing some of the best things about the modern world; and it has been criticized as hegemonic, anti-democratic, and racist — as the origins of some of the worst aspects of the modern world.

This course, however, aims to consider some of the more liminal, and underworld aspects of this complex moment in our history, and to consider self-reflexive and skeptical texts and discourses that question the orthodox protocols of the culture, and run counter to the prevailing notions of the Enlightenment. We will explore four inter-connected forms of cultural representation: history and forgery; sex, sensibility and society; race and imperialism; and travel.

While each of these areas might seem to be separate and to operate according to their own principles, they are all connected by the exotic. The exotic might be described as the foreign in relation to the domestic, the marginal in relation to the center, the colonial in relation to the metropolitan, and the unknown in relation to the known. But what do these relationships mean for the eighteenth century? How do they appeal to us now? What can our present thinking about personal, civil, and political categories and institutions learn from the Enlightenment handling of such issues?    

            The following texts have been ordered for the class:

            James Boswell, London Journal, 1762-63

            Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730, ed. Paula Backscheider and John Richetti

            John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

            English Trader, Indian Maid: Gender, Race and Slavery in the New World, ed. F. Felsenstein

            We will draw on the following texts in excerpt, and xeroxes will be supplied:

            Peter Ackroyd, Chatterton

            Thomas Chatterton, Poems

            Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator

            Samuel Johnson, Rambler Nos. 172, 173; Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

            James Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

            Horace Walpole, Castle of Otranto

            James Macpherson, Ossian

            Oliver Goldsmith, Citizen of the World

            Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Turkish Letters

            James Cook, Journals

The materials and the organization of the course lend themselves to an interdisciplinary treatment, and, in keeping with its status as a capstone, the course will bring historical, sociological, anthropological, scientific, ad literary perspectives to bear on our texts and issues.


As far as possible, this will be a collaborative, student-centered seminar in which everyone plays some part in exploring the issues, questions, and texts. There will be informal lectures from me, providing background and various ways of contextualizing our texts, but the emphasis of the class will be on structured discussion, and oral reports. This is an essential way of bringing different disciplinary and personal perspectives to bear on our material. It is important to note, however, that for this kind of class to work to the benefit of all, all have to be involved and willing to work: a passive, aloof, or antagonistic attitude will be counterproductive.

Requirements are as follows:

1. Three papers of 5-6 pages each.These papers should show detailed reading in the primary and secondary material, they should develop and explore some serious argument with regard to our general thematic discussions about history, sex, race, and travel; and they should be presented in a professional way with regard to bibliography and organization.

2. A formal 10-15 minute presentation on a topic/text of your choice. Since this is a large class, these presentations will be done in pairs. They need to be sufficiently engaged and substantial to form the basis of our discussion in class for that day. They may form the basis of one of your three papers.

3. Active and constructive participation in class discussion.

Each of these five components (3 papers, presentation, participation) are of equal value in determining your course grade.


You are expected to attend all classes, and all absences without good reason will be penalized, even though this might jeopardize your graduation.

The Internet and Electronic Hypertext

1. Information about 18th-century art, architectire, landscape gardening, history, literature, music, philosophy, religion and theology, science and mathematics, and professional resources and journals, can be found at:

2. From the library home page you can access PROJECT MUSE (for the journals 18th-Century Studies and 18th-Century Life), ABES (annotated bibliography to all aspects of English literature), the MLA Bibliography, and many other databases.

Work Schedule

Introduction (Jan. 17, 24)

Some preliminary thoughts about the exotic.

Excerpts from:

History, Forgery, and Autobiography (Jan. 31, Feb. 7, 14). Paper 1: Feb. 18.

General Criticism


Excerpts from:

Critical Reading:

Critical Reading

Sex, Sensibility, and Society (Feb. 21, 28, Mar. 7, 21). Paper 2: Mar. 25.

General Criticism


Critical Reading:

Critical Reading:

Gender, Race and Imperialism (Mar. 28, Ap. 4)

From English Trader, Indian Maid, the following texts:

Richard Ligon (55-80), Richard Steele (81-88), Frances Seymour (89-94), George Colman (167-233), Charles James Fox (247-51), Matthew James Chapman (269-76), “A Barbadian” (277-84), Anonymous (285-88).

Critical Reading

Travel, History, Nation,  (Ap. 11, 18,). Paper 3: Monday April 22.

General Criticism


Critical Reading:

Some Conclusions: April 25.

Select Reading List

Aravamudan, Srinivas, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (Durham: Duke UP, 1999).

Baines, Paul, The House of Forgery in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999).

Ballaster, Ros, Seductive Forms: Women’s Amatory Fiction from 1684-1740 (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1992).

Barker-Benfield, G.J, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1992).

Carretta, Vincent (ed), Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century (Lexington: U Kentucky P, 1996).

Carter, Angela, The Sadean Woman and the Ideology of Pornography (New York:

Pantheon, 1978).

Castle, Terry, “The Carnivalization of Eighteenth-Century English Narrative,” The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (New York: Oxford UP, 1995), 101-19.

-----, “The Culture of Travesty: Sexuality and Masquerade in Eighteenth-Century England,” in British Literature 1640-1789, 251-70 (also in The Female Thermometer, 82-100).

Chard, Chloe, Pleasure and Guilt on the Grand Tour: Travel Writing and Imaginative Geography, 1600-1830 (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1999).

Chard, Chloe and Helen Langdon (eds), Transports: Travel, Pleasure, and Imaginative Geography, 1600-1830 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1996).

Clingham, Greg (ed), Questioning History: The Postmodern Turn to the Eighteenth Century (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 1998).

----- (ed), Making History: Textuality and the Forms of Eighteenth-Century Culture (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 1998).

Clifford, James and George E. Marcus (eds), Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Berkeley: U California P, 1986).

DeMaria, Robert (ed), British Literature 1640-1789: A Critical Reader (Oxford:

Blackwell, 1999).

Dening, Greg, Performances (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1996), esp. “Possessing Tahiti,”


Deutsch, Helen and Felicity Nussbaum (eds), Defects: Engendering the Modern Body (Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 2000).

Gautier, Gary, “Fanny Hill’s Mapping of Sexuality, Female Identity, and Maternity,” SEL, 35 (1995).

Greenblatt, Stephen, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1991).

Groom, Nick (ed), Narratives of Forgery. Angelaki 1:2 (Winter 1993-94).

Haywood, Ian, The Making of History: A Study of the Literary Forgeries of James Macpherson and Thomas Chatterton in Relation to Eighteenth-Century Ideas of History and Fiction (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1986).

Herdt, Gilbert (ed), Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History (New  York: Zone, 1994).

Hunt, Lynne (ed), The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500-1800 (New York: Zone, 1993).

Jones, Vivien (ed), Women in the Eighteenth Century: Constructions of Femininity (London: Routledge, 1990).

Lacquer, Thomas, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990).

Nussbaum, Felicity, Torrid Zones: Maternity, Sexuality, and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Narratives (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1995).

Obeyesekere, Gananath, Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Myth Making in the Pacific (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994)

Perry, Ruth, “Colonizing the Breast: Sexuality and Maternity in Eighteenth-Century England,” in British Literature 1640-1789, 302-32.

Porter, Roy (ed), Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine (Cambridge: Cambridge UP,


-----, The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment (New York: Norton, 2000).

Porter, Roy and Marie Mulvey Roberts (eds), Pleasures in the Eighteenth Century (New York: New York UP, 1996).

Potkay, Adam and Sandra Burr (eds), Black Atlantic Writers of the 18th Century (New York: St. Martin’s, 1995).

Rawson, Claude, “Unparodying and Forgery: The Augustan Chatterton,” in British Literature 1640-1789, 333-47.

Rousseau, G.S. and Roy Porter (eds), Exoticism the Enlightenment (New York: St. Martin’s, 1990).

Sabor, Peter, “From Sexual Liberation to Gender Trouble: Reading Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure from the 1960s to the 1990s,”ECS, 33:4 (2000), 561-78.

Sahlins, Marshall, How “Natives”Think: About Captain Cook, for Example (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1995).

Said, Edward W, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978).

Sandiford, Keith, Measuring the Moment: Strategies of Protest in Eighteenth-Century Afro-English Writing (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna UP, 1988).

Schaffer, Simon, “States of Mind: Enlightenment and Natural Philosophy,” in The Languages of Psyche: Mind and Body in Enlightenment Thought, ed. G.S. Rousseau (Cambridge: Berkeley: U California P, 1990), 233-90.

Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants (New York: Vintage, 1992).

Stafford, Barbara Maria, Body Criticism: Imaging the Unseen in Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1993).

-----, Artful Science: Enlightenment Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual Education (Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1994).

Stewart, Susan, Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Confinement of Representation (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991).

Trumbach, Randolf, Sex and the Gender Revolution: Vol. 1: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1998).

-----,  “London’s Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the making of Modern Culture,”in Third Sex, Third Gender, 111-36

Turner, James (ed), Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993).

Varey, Simon, “Three Necessary Drugs,” 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era. IV (New York: AMS, 1998), 3-52.

Wechselblatt, Martin, “Gender and Race in Yarico’s Epistles to Inkle: Voicing the Feminine/Slave,”Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 19 (1989), 197-223.

White, Hayden, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987).

-----, The Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978).

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