Transatlantic Travel Writing


Course Objective

• Students become acquainted with some canonical texts from the long
19th century (British and American), and are able to relate them to
travel narratives written by the same authors.
• Students are familiar with the genre of (British and American) travel
writing and the developments of the genre between the late 18th and
early 20th century.
• Students understand how travel writing is implicated in the processes
of identity formation (both collective and individual) and intercultural
• Students are able to apply theoretical notions such as
transnationalism, national culture, space and place, and gender to
individual texts from the historical period.
• Students know how to start up and conduct a small academic research
project for their final essay (group project).
• Students are able to freely express their ideas in both written work
and informal, oral presentations.
• Students are able to engage in class discussions in a
diversity-sensitive manner and are (more) aware of sociopolitical issues
that play a role in culturally diverse classroom settings.

Course Content

This course introduces students to American and British literature
written between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the
20th century. As it is impossible to cover all Anglo-American writing of
the “long 19th century” in the course of seven weeks, we will focus on
one specific genre: travel writing. This literary genre, which has been
popular for centuries, has been much overlooked by academics and those
constituting the British and American literary canons. The new critical
paradigms of “transnationalism” and “globalization,” however,
necessitate a new and serious look at these texts. We will read travel
writings by authors such as Charles Dickens, Henry James and Mark Twain
in combination with canonized texts by these same authors. This will
allow us to compare and contextualize.

In addition, we will read and discuss some narratives written by lesser
known and more marginal authors, as well as a few critical essays on
travel writing.

Teaching Methods

Interactive seminar sessions (2 x 3 hours per week): close-readings of
the assigned texts, film viewings and discussion, in-class group work,
excursions, discussion of written assignments.

Method of Assessment

Class participation, written assignments (Canvas posts; essay), exam.
Consult the study guide of the course for a description of how the
different components build up to the final grade.

Entry Requirements

Prerequisites: Students must also take (or have taken) part in one of
three other modules: either (1) “Literature, Culture, and Society”; (2)
“Introduction to American Studies”; or (3) “Social History of the United


Carl Thompson, Travel Writing (Routledge 2011); selected 19th century
travel writings; selected 19th century canonized texts. See Canvas.

Target Audience

Second-year students of the BA program Literature & Society: English;
exchange students, participants in the minor package American Studies.

Additional Information

Attendance required: 80%. Students who miss more than 20% will not
receive credits for the course.
The level of English in this course is high. You have to be able to read
late 18th-, 19th- and early 20th-century texts.

Custom Course Registration

Sign up procedure: There is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module and (iii) the exam, but not for (ii) the seminar groups.

General Information

Course Code L_ELBALES206
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. B. Boter
Examiner dr. B. Boter
Teaching Staff dr. B. Boter

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: