Just Teach One

Piracy, Politics, Power: Teaching Constantius and Pulcher

James D. Lilley

University at Albany, SUNY

If we were not all creatures of the digital age, the syllabus for my undergraduate course on “Transatlantic Romance” would be written on a sheet of jaundiced A4.  Like the promise of distant runway lights underlighting English clouds, its scribbles, scratches, and stains would only emphasize the fogged contours of my optimism.  As a course in genre and the politics of the romance, we typically begin our flight with Frye, Auerbach, and the Yvain of Chrétien de Troyes, and then move briskly through various Revolutions (the Glorious and Oronooko; the American and Rip Van Winkle; the French and Burke; the Haitian and Sansay) only to end up with Poe and Cooper, thickly mired in the swamps of the 1830s like Winfield Scott during the Second Seminole War.  This semester, I was very happy to enlist Constantius and Pulchera in these improbable travels.  Sandwiched between Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution and Irving’s Sketch-Book, their bizarre transatlantic adventures provided some important and comic relief.

Amelia, Agency, and the Aesthetics of Mourning

James D. Lilley
SUNY Albany 

In a graduate seminar I taught this semester at SUNY Albany, one of the most immediate effects of sandwiching Amelia in between James Hogg’s The Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Washington Irving’s The Sketch-Book was to emphasize the aesthetic and political versatility of modern forms of romance.  While not, perhaps, an obvious choice for a syllabus entitled “The Transatlantic Gothic,” Amelia proved an interesting and important addition to our semester, especially when paired with Rowson’s Charlotte Temple.

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