This course studies the British empire of the 19th Century and its slow dissolution during the course of the 20th century. The primary emphasis is on Britons? engagement with and responses to the idea of empire, as reflected in literary and non-literary texts of the time, and is informed by contemporary political and postcolonial theory. Students consider debates about imperialism, the role of culture in imperial expansion, the conception of national character, and the process of decolonization are studied, as the class traces the theory of empire in the metropole and its practice in the colonies. Writers may include Hastings, Macaulay, Kipling, Schreiner, Anand, Conrad, Yeats, Joyce, Forster, Greene, Achebe, Gordimer, Rushdie, Chandra, and Friel.
Prerequisites: ENGL 220, one course from ENGL 221-239 strongly recommended.