SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 5: Traveling through Tales and Reaching Research

MWF 8-9 , 183 Dwinelle. Instructor: TBA

Units: 4

All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

“To travel is to live,” as Hans Christian Andersen wrote in My Life’s Adventures. In an age before airplanes and internet reviews, authors of travelogues acted as the gatekeepers for knowledge of different countries. They would find new markets for their publications, describe unfamiliar cultures, and generally shape public opinions in their home countries. Scandinavian authors are no exception to this, as they sought to define Denmark, Norway, and Sweden with and against each other.

Our reading list follows several influential Scandinavian authors whose works have earned them a place in national, regional, and international literary cannons. These writings demonstrably engage with the linguistic, gender, race, and genre politics of their time: Karen Blixen writes in her non-native English with a masculine pen name, H C Andersen blurs realistic travelogue and fantastic fairy tale, and Selma Lagerlöf embraces the fantastic in her state-sponsored geography textbook. With Edward Said as our guiding theorist, we can begin to examine Orientalism as it manifests in Scandinavian literature, as well as Nordic Exoticism.

In this course, we will distinguish primary sources from secondary, scholarly from popular, and define relevant research. With the critical writing background from R5A or R1A (the prerequisite for this course), we can focus on making innovative arguments in two main research papers.

Required reading:

Hans Christian Andersen’s Pictures of Sweden. 978-1500363710

Jonas Lie’s Weird Tales from Northern Seas, translated by Robert Nisbet Bain. 1475179073

Selma Lagerlöf’s The Wonderful Adventures of Nils translated by Velma Swanston Howard. 9781515201021

Isak Dinesen’s (Karen Blixen’s) Out of Africa. 978-0679600213

Edward Said’s Orientalism. 978-0394740676

A Pocket Style Manual, 7th Edition by Diana Hacker & Nancy Sommers (no earlier than 5th edition, please). 978-0205309023

Other readings will be made available through bCourses, such as “Fru Fønns” by J P Jakobsen and Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities.