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Nick Enright

2014-Nick Enright_BW
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Robinson’s Garden. Literature and the Colonisation of Lands

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Nicholas Enright, geboren 1985 in Australien, studierte Germanistik, Romanistik, Anglistik und Politikwissenschaft in Sydney, Aix-en-Provence und Berlin. Mit einer Arbeit über Experiment und Nicht-Wissen in Johann Karl Wezels Erstlingsroman Lebensgeschichte Tobias Knauts, des Weisen, sonst der Stammler genannt (1773-1776) schloss er sein Masterstudium im Mai 2013 ab. Zu seinen Forschungsinteressen zählen utopische Literatur, Robinsonade, Literatur und Wissensgeschichte, literarische Anthropologie und Romantheorie.

Nicholas Enright, born 1985 in Australia, studied Germanic Studies, French Studies, English Literature and Government in Sydney, Aix-en-Provence und Berlin. He completed his Master's in Germanic Studies in Berlin in 2013. His research interests include utopian literature, the Robinsonade, knowledge history, andthropology and postcolonial studies. 

Sommersemester 2017

Nostalgic Garden Empires

Robinson’s Garden. Literature and the Colonisation of Lands

Sowing, grafting, enclosing, weeding, transplanting – since the beginning of recorded human history such practices, or ‘cultural techniques,’ were always inextricably linked to the idea of a righteous inhabitancy and occupation of the land. During the European ‘discovery’ of and expansion into the New World these and other technologies of horticultural and agricultural ‘improvement’ formed part of a strategy of colonisation not ostensibly bent on conquest or the enslavement of conquered peoples, but instead on cultivating the land for ‘mutual benefit’.

And yet, the benevolent empire of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment would scarcely have been possible without the vast array of texts and images that accompanied the real and concrete attempts to colonise and transform the landscapes which Europeans encountered, order them according to rational principles and thus adapt these landscapes to European needs and designs. For example, the colonial landscape images, that translated the foreign terrain of the newly discovered worlds into a familiar, highly idealise format, thus “conquering” it, in a manner of speaking, through aesthetic means. Or, more pertinently, the literary fictions that accompany European attempts to colonise the New World at every turn, absorbing and magnifying their ideological concepts in the process. These literary imaginations – works like Daniel Defoe’s immensely influential novel Robinson Crusoe (1719) or Jacques-Henri Bernadin de Saint-Pierre’s French-language bestseller Paul et Virginie (1788) – constitute the central focal point of the dissertation. In addition to the well-known fact that they all cite, revise, rewrite and extrapolate on each other, their source of interest also stems from the way they combine a dynamic of gardening with the topos of an isolated, though still somehow strangely familiar island. The controlled environment they create thus places the famous gardens and garden-islands of narrative fiction, or so I argue, in a unique, if not superlative position to expound, mediate and aggrandise imperial fantasies of cultivation and improvement.

Aufsätze

- ‘Eine “Geschichte des Menschen im Kleinen.” Johann Karl Wezels Neubearbeitung des Robinson Krusoe (1779/80) und die Vierstufentheorie Adam Smiths.’ In: Britisch-deutscher Literaturtransfer 1756-1832, hrsg. Lore Knapp and Eike Kronshage. Berlin: De Gruyter 2016, 93-112.

Vorträge

- '"Chaste Beauty." Constructions of 'Race' in Georg Forster's Essay Der Brotbaum ('The Breadtree,' 1784).' Kapitelentwurf vorgestellt beim 11. Studientag Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Berlin), 15.07.2016.

- 'George Anson's Landscapes. The English Garden and Imperial Power.' German Graduate Research Seminar, University of Cambridge, Sedgwick Site (Department for Germanic Studies), 13.06.2016.  

- "'Desert Island' Paradise and the Invisible Hand of Civilisation: Transplantation and/as Empire in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's novel Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761)." Workshop 'Pazifik-Literatur um 1800 / um 2000, Universität Bern, Haus der Universität, 12.03.2016. 

- 'Adam Smith in Johann Karl Wezels Bearbeitung des Robinson Crusoe (1779/80)'. Schlegel-Studientage, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Grimm-Zentrum, 11.10.2014.

Articles

- ‘Eine “Geschichte des Menschen im Kleinen.” Johann Karl Wezels Neubearbeitung des Robinson Krusoe (1779/80) und die Vierstufentheorie Adam Smiths’ [A "History of Mankind in Miniature": Johann Karl Wezel's Adaptation of Robinson Crusoe (1779/80) and Adam Smith's Four Stages Theory'], Britisch-deutscher Literaturtransfer, 1756-1832, ed. Lore Knapp and Eike Kronshage (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), 93-112.

Conference activity

- '"Chaste Beauty." Constructions of 'Race' in Georg Forster's Essay Der Brotbaum (The Breadtree, 1784).' Draft chapter presented at the 11th Conference for Literature and Science History, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Berlin), 15.07.2016.

- 'George Anson's Landscapes. The English Garden and Imperial Power.' German Graduate Research Seminar, University of Cambridge, Sedgwick Site (Department for Germanic Studies), 13.06.2016.  

- "'Desert Island' Paradise and the Invisible Hand of Civilisation: Transplantation and/as Empire in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's novel Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761)." Workshop 'Pazifik-Literatur um 1800 / um 2000, Universität Bern, Haus der Universität, 12.03.2016. 

- 'Adam Smith in Johann Karl Wezels Bearbeitung des Robinson Crusoe (1779/80)' [Adam Smith in Johann Karl Wezel's Adaptation of Robinson Crusoe (1779/80)]. Schlegel-Studientage, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Grimm-Zentrum, 11.10.2014.

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