ELIT Seminar: “Crusoe’s Diversions,” Jonathan C. Williams, G-160, 4:40PM December 13 (EN)

Date: Thursday 13, December, 2018
Time :16.40 to 18.00
Location : G 160

“Crusoe’s Diversions”
Jonathan C. Williams

It has become something of a truism that Robinson Crusoe is as much about things as it is about persons. Crusoe’s maturation out of a melancholic obsession with his losses and into a state of absolute self-possession coincides with his fixation on the tactility of the world around him. In this talk, I ask why material things proliferate with such intensity in the novel and why the novel associates Crusoe’s interest in the material world with his overcoming of his despair. The answer to these questions, I will suggest, is ideological, and tells us something both about the uneasy status of the feeling of melancholia within modernity and also about the ways that literary works attempt to regulate affect so as to legitimize themselves in relation to the historical moments from which they emerge.