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Course Guides 1970
Course Description, Fall 1975
HA 179/279 The Literature of Great Expeditions
(OP 179/279) David Roberts
In this course we will read and discuss accounts (mostly first hand, by expedition members themselves) of some of the great expeditions undertaken in the last five centuries: voyages over land, sea and ice, whose motives ranged from conquest to science to simple curiosity. Although the course will approach each book from literary and aesthetic standpoints, its primary emphasis is on the expedition experience itself (hence the title is not "Great Literature of Expeditions," and hence the insistence on first-person accounts). The books chosen are ones especially successful at capturing the day-by-day details, the actual doing, of expeditions, as well as expressing vividly the mentalities (so different in different ages) of explorers.
Each student will be asked to do a project...In addition, the course will include field simulation of various expeditionary tasks and trials. These will range from a bivouac in a tree to a raft-building trip across the Connecticut, to an attempt to construct and haul a man-sledge like Scott's in the Antarctic, to a simulated Yeti hunt, to demonstrations of climbing and sailing technique; they may include an effort to produce expeditionary food, like pemmican, or navigating and map-reading under difficult conditions. The field exercises are an essential and integral part of the course.
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