EN 4223 - Fictions of Space and Culture: Geopolitics and Modernity (Sem I 2009/10)

Main/Index Page




Seminar One Notes

 Seminar Two Notes

 Seminar Three Notes

Seminar Four Notes 

 Seminar Five Notes

Seminar Six Notes 

Seminar Seven Notes

 Seminar Eight Notes

 Seminar Nine Notes

 Seminar Ten Notes

 Seminar Eleven Notes

 Seminar Twelve Notes


Past Mid-term Quiz Questions


Supplementary Material (quoted in seminars)


Pictures of Agra Fort



Link to the "Wilkie Collins Pages"
(has online material like pictures, letters, as well as useful commentary)

Link to the "Dracula's Castle" site: pictures and history of Castle Bran (and some of Castle Dracula)


Pictures of Castle Bran

Link to my gothic (former version of EN 4223) webpage, for notes/resources on Dracula, theory of the gothic, contexts etc

Module Description and Aims:
This is a module on nineteenth-century prose and fiction, concentrated particularly on the writings of the latter part of the century leading up to the "geopolitical moment" around the last decade of the nineteenth century - a period which, in terms of English literary and cultural history, has also been called the "fin de siecle" period of cynicism and gloom.

The module accordingly aims at training students in the reading and analysis of nineteenth-century geopolitical narratives.  Students will learn the context of geopolitics in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and will learn to analyse select fiction as symbolic cultural articulations of British geopolitical anxieties.  Major tropes to be covered include the symbolism of space; boundaries and liminal landscapes; the geopolitics of sexuality and desire; race and power; schizophrenia and the geopolitical unconscious; and related terms and issues.  The module is targeted at all students with pertinent interests who have completed at least 28 MCs of literature modules.”

Assessment Structure:
60 percent CA, comprising a presentation and general in-class participation (20%), a short mid-term test (10%), and a final project (30%)
The remaining 40 percent will come from a closed-book, end-of-semester exam.

Primary Texts:

Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
Rudyard Kipling,
Arthur Conan Doyle,
The Sign of Four
H. Rider Haggard,
King Solomon's Mines
Joseph Conrad,
An Outcast of the Islands
Bram Stoker,
A small portfolio of short stories and essays: (R. L. Stevenson's "The Bottle Imp," R. L. Stevenson's "The Isle of Voices," Arthur Conan Doyle's "The 6 Napoleons," Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast," Rudyard Kipling's "The Tomb of His Ancestors," ).

Secondary Readings:
(These will not be referred to in assignments and exams, nor will student knowledge of these be assumed - they are available resources for student assignments etc, and will no doubt inspire further engagement with the primary texts and issues, but will not be assessed.  I will probably refer to some of these works in the course of the seminars, but will contextualise and summarise the ideas used, so that again students will not be expected to have read these texts unless they choose to do so).

Chrisman, Laura.  Rereading the Imperial Romance: British Imperialism and South African Resistance in Haggard, Schreiner and Plaatje.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000. (PR 468 Imp.Ch)

Doyle, Arthur Conan.  The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes. New Jersey: Castle Books.  PR 4621 Pag (Has "6 Napoleons")

Gogwilt, Christopher.  The Invention of the West: Joseph Conrad and the Double-Mapping of Europe and Empire.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.  (PR 6005 C754*Go)

Green, Martin.  Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire.  London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.  (PN 3448 Adv.G)

Hodgson, John A (ed).  Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes: The Major Stories with Contemporary Critical Essays.  Boston: Bedford Books of St Martin's Press, 1994.  (PR 4624 She)

Johnston, Susan.  Women and Domestic Experience in Victorian Political Fiction.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001. (PR 868 Dom.Jo)

Joyce, Simon.  Capital Offenses: Geographies of Class and Crime in Victorian London.  Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003. (PR 878 J89C 2003)

Kipling, Rudyard.  The Day’s Work.  New York: Doubleday, Page and Co, 1914.  PR 6021 K57D (Has "Tomb of His Ancestors")

Kipling, Rudyard.  Life’s Handicap.  PR 6021 K57W (Has "Mark of the Beast")

Mackinder, Halford J.  "The Geographical Pivot of History."  The geopolitics reader / edited by Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Simon Dalby and Paul Routledge.
Abingdon, Oxon ; New York : Routledge, 2006.  (JC319Geo 2006)

McClintock, Anne
mperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest.  New York: Routledge, 1995.

McLaughlin, Joseph.  Writing the Urban Jungle: Reading Empire in London from Doyle to Eliot.  Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000. (PR 8472 McL)

Mighall, Robert.  A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction: Mapping History's Nightmares.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.  (PR 830 Tal.Mig)

Ratzel, Friedrich.  "The Territorial Growth of States."  In Human Geography: An Essential Anthology, ed. John Agnew, David N. Livingstone and Alisdair Rogers.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996, pp. 525-535.  (GF 41 Hum)

Otis, Laura.  Membranes: Metaphors of Invasion in Nineteenth Century Literature, Science and Politics.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999. (PN 55 Oti)

Schmitt, Cannon.  Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. (PR 868 Tal.Sc)

Stevenson, R. L. (Michael Hayes, ed)  The Supernatural Short Stories of R. L. Stevenson.  London: John Calder, 1976.  (PR 5480 Ste)

Tuathail, Gearoid O "General Introduction: Thinking Critically about Geopolitics," "The Geographical Pivot of History."  The geopolitics reader / edited by Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Simon Dalby and Paul Routledge.  Abingdon, Oxon ; New York : Routledge, 2006. (JC319Geo 2006)

Young, Robert.  "Colonialism and the Desiring-Machine."  Liminal Postmodernisms: The Postmodern, the (Post-)Colonial, and the (Post-)Feminist, ed. Theo D'haen and Hans Bertens.  Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1994, pp. 11-34 (PN 98 Pos.L)

Extra-Supplementary Section:

Some of my publications which have some bearing on the authors or topics covered on this module: this is only in case you want to get a clearer sense of some of my ideas than I am able to present in the course of the seminars.  I reiterate (what I’ve said several times already) that you are not only free to disagree with my ideas and emphases (with proper evidence and argument for your claims of course), you are in fact encouraged to do so.  I never put my publications on the main module (supplementary) reading list precisely because I don’t want to give people the idea that they will be rewarded for agreeing with me and penalized for disagreeing.  But sometimes students do ask if they can read something which gives them a better sense of where I’m coming from, or of an idea I introduced in class, and these publications are the most efficient way to convey those things.  So, to be consulted only in that spirit:

1.  Goh, Robbie B. H. "Textual Hyde and Seek: ‘Gentility,’ Narrative Play and Proscription in Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." Journal of Narrative Theory 29: 2 (Spring 1999), 158-183 [On Stevenson’s narrative, social gothic]

2.   Goh, Robbie B. H.  "Powers and Horrors: Colonial Gothic Narrative as Socially Symbolic Act."  Atlantic Literary Review, 2: 2 (2001), 90-108[colonial gothic, Rider Haggard]

3.  Goh, Robbie B. H.  "(M)othering the Nation: Guilt, Sexuality and the Commercial State in Coleridge's Gothic Poetry." Journal of Narrative Theory 33: 3 (Fall 2003), 270-291. [Commercial gothic: main themes/anxieties]

4.  Goh, Robbie B. H.  "Stevenson's Financial Gothic: Money, Commerce, Language, and the Horror of Modernity in 'The Isle of Voices'" Gothic Studies 10: 2 (2008) [Stevenson, financial gothic, money-form]

5.  Goh, Robbie B. H.  "Reading Holmes: Capital and the Sign of the Market in The Hound of the Baskervilles." Semiotica 160-1/4 (2006), 95-114.[Detective-and-capitalism, detective-as-capitalism]

6.  Goh, Robbie B. H. "Myths of Reversal: Backwards Narratives, Normative Schizophrenia and the Culture of Causal Agnosticism." Social Semiotics 18: 1 (2008) [A bit on cultural schizophrenia, applied mainly to contemporary rather than 19th C texts]

7.   Goh, Robbie B. H.  "The Native Body and Exchange Culture: Race, Narrative and Geopolitics in Rudyard Kipling's Kim." Fiction and Drama 18: 1 (2007). [Kim, bodies-in-motion, emporia, neocolonial treatment]

8.   Goh, Robbie B. H. "Shame, Soil and Spectres - Kipling's Colonial Gothic Narrative," in Ariels: Departures and Returns, eds. Tong Chee Kiong et al (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 248-266). [Kipling short stories, especially “Mark of Beast,” colonial gothic, colonial “waste”]

9.  Goh, Robbie B. H.  "Stevenson and the Property of Language: Narrative, Value, Modernity."   R. L. Stevenson: Writer of Boundaries, ed. Richard Ambrosini and Richard Dury.  Wisconsin: Wisconsin University Press, 2006, pp. 169-180. [Stevenson’s narrative, “Beach of Falesa,” native women and inter-racial relations]

10.  Goh, Robbie B. H. "Shop-Soiled Worlds: Retailing Narratives, Typologies, and Commodity Culture" Social Semiotics 12: 1 (2002), 5-26. [Some historical context on shops and the rise of emporia at the beginning of the article].

11.  Goh, Robbie B. H.  “The Geopolitics of Criticism: The Sea as Liminal Symbol in Stevenson’s The Ebb-Tide and Conrad’s An Outcast of the Islands.”  Robert Louis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad: Writers of Transition, ed. Linda Dryden, Stephen Arata and Eric Massie.  Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2009.  [Comparison of Stevenson and Conrad; symbolic use of landscapes, especially the sea, island and shoreline; theorizing a “schizophrenic” spatial economy of colonialism]