English 189 - Spring, 2018

Seminar in Literary Studies

    Topic: The Novel Goes Underground: Stories of Buried Treasure and Extraction Ecology

Class Information

Instructor: Miller, Elizabeth
CRN: 61812
Time: TR 4:40-6:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


    Buried Treasure: Extraction, Ecology, and Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century

    With readings that range from treasure-hunting adventure stories to realist novels and travel writing, this class will focus on ecology and extraction – the mining of underground resources – in the literature of the long nineteenth century. Industrialized mining for gold, coal, diamonds, and other underground resources had a major impact on nineteenth-century environments, and this class will strive to think broadly about the corresponding role of extraction in nineteenth-century narrative. While the majority of our literary texts are British or American, we will also reach beyond the Anglo-American world to think about frontier, empire, and global capitalism. We will read texts set in Latin America, in Africa, and, finally, in San Francisco, ending the class with a reflection on how the frenzy for underground riches shaped the environment and culture of California.


    Students will be graded on two major paper assignments, one shorter response paper, a final exam, as well as active participation and attendance.


    Soldiers of Fortune, Richard Harding Davis
    King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard
    Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
    McTeague, Frank Norris
    The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands , Mary Seacole