(TECHNOLOGY and LITERATURE: RAILROADS, TRAVEL, and PLACE)
This course will explore reactions and responses that the railroad elicited in literature when it was still a new mode of transportation. Taking a selection of popular authors from Henry D. Thoreau to Miyazawa Kenji, it will discuss how the railroad affected (and was represented in) their writing and imagination. For example, it will consider how the ideas of place, the “native place” (furusato), home, the city and the country took on new forms and meanings when considered from a speeding train. It also will discuss how the railroad popularized (while itself being popularized through) travel, sightseeing, and tourism, and the significance of the new public spaces it created such as the railway station and the railway car.
To show through literature how technology and culture interact in subtle ways; how literature provides a medium through which concerns and questions about technology get revealed: and also how in turn technology (the railroad) affects literary narration and styles, and the ideas of place and home, and concepts of space and time.
Understand better how technology and culture interact through literature. Able to analyze how the railroad affected the ideas of place, home, and identity. Able to critique how the railroad travel inspired literary styles; and raised interest in the vanishing ways of life, and romanticized the native place, furusato.
Improved critical reading, conversational and writing skills.
Technology and literature, railroads, travel, place, furusato, the Orient Express, railway stations and architecture
|✔ Specialist skills||✔ Intercultural skills||✔ Communication skills||✔ Critical thinking skills||Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
Conducted in a seminar format and in English. Class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to 1) read the assigned readings prior to the class, 2) participate in classroom discussions, and 3) write short papers.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||Technology and literature & science and literature (railroads in literature and art)||None|
|Class 2||Leo Marx’ Machine in the Garden(1962)||Reading chapters from Leo Marx's Machine in the Garden|
|Class 3||Impressions of and ideas on the railroad in Thoreau’s Walden||Reading chapters from Walden and more|
|Class 4||Railways in art and literature in Victorian Britain (and India)||Reading pieces from Sherlock Holmes, Lewis Carroll; Gandi ; Viewing and evaluating Turner's "Rain, Steam and Speed"|
|Class 5||The Orient Express (Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express)||Reading Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.|
|Class 6||Railroad and travel in Japan (Natsume Sōseki, Sanshiro; Shimazaki Tōson, Ie, Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country)||Reading Natsume Sōseki, Sanshiro; Shimazaki Tōson, Ie, Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country)|
|Class 7||Railroad and travel in Japan (Miyazawa Kenji, more)||Reading Miyazawa Kenji's Night on the Milky Way Train, and more|
Read the assigned readings and view suggested audio-visuals prior to the class (several hours)
Will be specified by the instructor as necessary.
Thomas Carlyle, Signs of the Times, 1829;
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods, 1854
Graham Greene, Stamboul Train, 1932
Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express, 1934
Tetsudo shosetsu: kisha no tomo(汽車之友: 鉄道小説), 1898
Natsume Sōseki, Sanshiro, 1908
Shimazaki Tōson, Ie,1910-1911(The Family, trans. Cecilia Segawa Seigle (Tokyo, 1976).
Miyazawa Kenji, Hyouganezumi no kegawa, 1923;Night on the Milky Way Train, 1932
Kawabata Yasunari, Snow Country, 1935-1937
Leo Marx, Machine in the Garden, 1962
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: the Industrialization of Time and Space, 1986
Susan Danly and Leo Marx, The Railroad in American Art: Representation of Technological Change, 1988.
James A Fuji, “Networks of Modernity: Rail Transport and Modern Japanese Literature,” Japan Railway & Transport Review(Sept 1997): 12-16
Stephen Dodd, Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature, 2004
Benjamin Fraser and Steven Spalding, eds., Trains, Culture, and Mobility: Riding the Rails, 2012.
Ben Marsden, Hazel Hutchison and Ralph O’Connor, eds., Uncommon Contexts: Encounters between Science and Literature, 1800-1914, 2013
Attendance and participation (roughly 80%) and writing assignments (roughly 20%)