Comparative Literature 123. Isolation and Islands

Instructor: Marc Shell
Thursday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA

Islands, both a part of and apart from the main, offer ready-made laboratories for linguistic, biological and political investigation. Islandness as such encourages national literature, philosophy, and vacation.  Our seminar, with its ecological and philosophical focus, centers on fictional an factual islands as well as Canadian ice floes, the always changing marine coastlines of  tidal islands, and Planet Earth itself,   Critical readings  include: Peter Sloterdijk’s Foams, Judith Shalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands, Sigmund Freud’s writings on his own world as “a little island of pain swimming in a sea of indifference,”  Immanuel Kant’s  “History of Lands and Islands,” and Shell’s Islandology. Literary and filmic works  include Shakespeare’s Hamlet,  John Donne’s argument that “No man is an island,” Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe,  More’s Utopia, Hae-Jun Lee’s “Castaway on the Moon,” Joseph Newman’s “This Island Earth,”  and island travel (and vacation) literature chosen by us as a group. Requirements: one short paper and one term paper.