James D. Lilley
University at Albany, SUNY
If we were not all creatures of the digital age, the syllabus for my undergraduate course on “Transatlantic Romance” would be written on a sheet of jaundiced A4. Like the promise of distant runway lights underlighting English clouds, its scribbles, scratches, and stains would only emphasize the fogged contours of my optimism. As a course in genre and the politics of the romance, we typically begin our flight with Frye, Auerbach, and the Yvain of Chrétien de Troyes, and then move briskly through various Revolutions (the Glorious and Oronooko; the American and Rip Van Winkle; the French and Burke; the Haitian and Sansay) only to end up with Poe and Cooper, thickly mired in the swamps of the 1830s like Winfield Scott during the Second Seminole War. This semester, I was very happy to enlist Constantius and Pulchera in these improbable travels. Sandwiched between Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution and Irving’s Sketch-Book, their bizarre transatlantic adventures provided some important and comic relief.
Continue reading “Piracy, Politics, Power: Teaching Constantius and Pulcher”