E 379S • Senior Seminar
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
The focus of this course will be on the reinvention of travel literature as an active and diverse genre. At a time when tourism has triumphed over travel and when you can order a burger, Coke, and fries throughout much of the world, the possibilities of travel have been rediscovered by some of the best writers living today.
We will begin the course by examining the urge to travel and what we learn from traveling, starting with Ernesto "Che" Guevara's motorcycle trip across South America, Dervla Murphy's bicycle trip from Ireland to India, and William Least Heat Moon's wanderings on the back roads of the United States. We will then move to other genres of travel: Edward Abbey's essays on the desert Southwest; Jon Krakauer's account of disaster on Mt. Everest; and Jamaica Kincaid's description of Antigua from a native's point of view. We will finish with Peter Matthiessen's voyage to Antarctica, and we'll examine his drafts and notes for the book in the Humanities Research Center.
You will keep a reading journal, which you will share with the class. You'll also write a short travel essay and a term paper that might involve primary research in the HRC.
Reading journal 30%
Travel essay 20%
Term paper 50%
Ernest Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries, Melbourne: Ocean P, 2004,
Dervla Murphy, Full Tilt, NY: Overlook 1987, ISBN 0-87951-248-2
William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways, NY: Little Brown, 1999, ISBN 0-316-35329-9
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire, NY: Ballantine, 1985, ISBN 0-345-32649-0
Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Aire, NY: Knopf, 1999, ISBN 0-385-49478-5
Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, NY: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 2000, ISBN 0-374-52707-5
Peter Matthiessen, End of the Earth, NY: National Geographic, 2004, ISBN 0-7922-6836-9