Course: Island Writing

HC 222H

Professor: Mai-Lin Cheng

“For centuries islands have been playing tricks on us, appearing and disappearing, changing shape and size, moving about not only in space but also in time. No other landform has been so illusory, none so subject to dream and nightmare.” –John Gillis

This course examines the mythic status of the island in a range of literary and visual texts. As we map the poetic and political space of the island, we will encounter questions about exploration and empire, self and other, the real and the imaginary. Texts will likely include Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and modern reinterpretations of Shakespeare and Defoe’s classic texts by the French Caribbean writer Aimé Césaire and South African writer J. M. Coetzee.