Spring 2012


Peter Balaam

Literature, theater, and the arts flourish in London. The city has an incomparably rich literary and cultural past and present and is arguably the world’s pre-eminent city for theater.  The goal of the London program is to provide Carleton students an immersion experience in this rich milieu; to see and discuss a wide variety of the best performances on offer; and to make use of local museums and other sites to enrich their understanding of English literature and culture.

Gala London Picture 2010

The seminar is open to students of any major at Carleton. Participants are urged, prior to the start of the program, to take any 100-level English course and, for background in 19th-century British literature and cultural history, English 211.



Early 19th-century London (1785–1830) was a setting of extraordinary intellectual, social, and political volatility and vitality. With the city itself as the classroom, the group will explore the revolutions in thought and feeling that made the Romantic era an epistemological “age of wonder.” The poetry and prose of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, De Quincey, and Mary Shelley, contextualized in light of Romantic expressions in architecture, painting and science, will help us to recreate a sense of what it meant to see romantically.
Instructor: Peter Balaam

(6 Credits)

Students will attend productions of classic and contemporary plays in London and perhaps Stratford-on-Avon (about two per week) and do related reading. Class discussions will focus on dramatic genres and themes, production and direction decisions, acting styles, and design. Possible guest speakers may include actors, critics, and directors.  Students will keep a theater journal and develop several entries into full reviews of plays.
Instructor: Jane Edwardes, former theater editor for
Time Out [London]

(4 Credits, S/CR/NC)

A combination of background readings and guided site visits will give students tools for seeing the city itself as a multilayered text, a human work under constant processes of expansion and revision. Starting from the city’s pre-urban geology and the still visible structures of its Roman past, students will recreate a sense of the Regency-era city of our Romanticism studies and explore the urban reforms currently under way in preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games. Students will pursue this visual knowledge of London in groups and on their own, and make themselves expert on some aspect of London’s reconstructable urban text.
Instructor:  Local Faculty

Students will stay in double, triple or quadruple rooms at Pickwick Hall, 7 Bedford Place, London WCIB 5JE, conveniently located in Bloomsbury, near the British Museum and within walking distance of a number of London theaters.  Students will have breakfast at the hostel and eat lunch and dinner on their own with an allowance provided by the program.  The hostel includes a common kitchen, laundry facilities, and a lounge with two computers and high-speed internet access.

Classes will meet Monday through Thursday mornings in a seminar room at the Swedenborg Society, a short walk from

Pickwick Hall. Field trips to London sites and museums will occupy some afternoons as well.  London theater performances will be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday evenings. Students are expected to attend all classes and performances and all scheduled group trips.

In addition to frequent class meetings at London museums, historic houses, and other sites of literary interest, group excursions will likely include trips to Bath, the Lake District, other sites relevant to our readings, and a theater-focused trip to Stratford-on-Avon. There will be a mid-term break that will allow time for individual travel. Students may also wish to travel independently before or after the program as well as on weekends when group travel is not planned.  

Carleton’s 2011-2012 comprehensive fee covers room and board, all program-related theater and museum tickets, and group-travel while in England. Many incidental expenses are also included. Students are responsible for books, their own transportation to and from London, personal travel in England and beyond, and all additional personal expenses. Estimates for minimum expenses beyond airfare run from $400 to $500.  Student financial aid is applicable as on campus.

See the Off-Campus Studies Office or website athttp://go.carleton.edu/ocs for further information regarding work study contracts, loans, and other subjects related to financial aid.