Sunday, January 15, 2017


In this senior seminar we’ll explore the literature of exploration itself, from the early modern era to the present. What has driven human beings to explore? What’s the relationship between exploration and risk? Where do we draw the line between exploration and exploitation? These and other questions will guide us through our readings – historical, poetical, historical-poetical, tragical-historical, poetical-comical, and many other literary avatars of the urge to look around our corners, to be “the first that ever burst / into that silent sea.” Students will each choose a specific moment or mode of exploration, follow and represent it throughout our discussions, and weave it in to a final seminar paper. Our books will include McGhee, The Last Imaginary Place; Krakauer, Into the Wild; Loomis, Weird and Tragic Shores; Grann, The Lost City of Z;  Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Ritter, A Woman in the Polar Night ; Wiebe, A Discovery of Strangers; and DeGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.

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