All students register for a total of two course units (c.u.)*. Course offerings are subject to change. Course registration is completed by the Penn Summer Abroad office for students who confirm their intent to enroll and submit the required pre-departure documents.
The Cultures of Collecting
ENGL 034 (1 c.u.)
- Taught by Whitney Trettien
- Fulfills requirement: Sector 4 of the College’s General Requirement, Humanities and Social Science and Sectors 1 and 6 of English Major
In this course, we’ll examine the chaos of memories contained in London’s extraordinary libraries. We’ll begin with the British Library, the largest national library in the world and the fount from which much literary research today springs. Working directly with early printed books and literary manuscripts, we’ll explore the Library’s rare treasures and learn how its staff uses the latest technologies to make these important books accessible to a new generation of readers. At the same time, we’ll turn a critical, historical eye on the British Library as an institution, tracing its origins back to eighteenth-century imperialism and linguistic nationalism. How have the institution’s Enlightenment values shaped what “counts” as literature? Who decides what texts are saved and read? With this history in hand, we’ll consider counter-archives where individuals have, over the centuries, saved what otherwise would have been lost. Roaming the back alleys of London, we’ll visit small zine libraries and collections of political ephemera, taking a different view on the chaos of memories. Throughout our discussions and site visits, we’ll keep an eye on the ethics of collecting and the passions that drive it. Students will collaborate on producing their own digital collection and through that process gain experience in planning, implementing, and coding a digital humanities project.
ENGL 101 (1 c.u.)
- Taught by Michael Gamer
- Fulfills requirement: Sector 3 of the College’s General Requirement, Arts and Letters and Sectors 2, 4 or 5 of English Major
At once acutely aware of popular culture and a product of it, Jane Austen read and wrote in popular forms, from epistolary fiction to Gothic horror to realism to raucous satire to popular theater. We'll survey her in most if not all of these guises, reading five of Austen's works during our time in London, including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. On the way, we'll pay special attention to Austen's achievement as an innovator within the larger history of the novel. To that end, we'll focus on her experiments with form, voice, genre, and geography—particularly the relationship between country and city and the role that specific parts of London play in her novels. Among our activities outside the classroom will be (weather permitting) to Chawton House in Hampshire, where Austen wrote most of her fiction.
The London Theater Experience
ENGL 103 (1 c.u.)
- Fulfills requirement: Sector 3 of the College’s General Requirement, Arts and Letters and Sector 6 of English Major
London is one of the most exciting theater centers in the world, and the focus of this course will be on live performance. We will attend theatrical productions 2-3 times a week, seeing a wide range of plays produced by companies such as the Royal National, the Royal Court, and the Royal Shakespeare and staged in spaces such as those as well as in the West End (London's equivalent of Broadway) and in Fringe Theaters (what would be off-Broadway in New York City). Every Thursday we will be joined by Times theatre critic Samantha Marlowe, who will lead those sessions and share her knowledge as a theatre critic and practitioner. Tickets will be arranged in advance. Readings for the class will consist of responses to plays and productions. The class may also participate in field trips to other sites of theatrical interest, such as the Royal National Theatre and the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.