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Of Continental and Maritime Spaces: The Political Ode between Cowley and Young

Lecture | March 23 | D1 Hearst Field Annex


Michael Auer, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich

Department of English, Department of Comparative Literature


The Peace of Utrecht (1713/14) marked an important caesura in European political history: ushering in, according to Michel Foucault, a completely new regime of governmentality. This lecture shows how the English political ode responded to this rupture by redeploying the time-honored allegory of the ship of state: affording a thematic shift from sovereignty to governance, from legislation to tactical maneuvering, and from a territorial or “continental” to a “maritime” concept of the polity. By refocusing the allegory of the ship (which traditionally also represented the composition and organization of a poetical work) the ode can reconceive of its own textual trajectories – and thus promote an innovative, distinctly modern, understanding of lyrical form and genre.


Michael Auer studied Philosophy, English, Ancient Greek, and German at the universities of Freiburg, Bonn, Florence, and Indiana University in Bloomington. He is currently an Assistant Professor of German Studies at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and a visiting scholar in the Berkeley English Department.

Sponsored by the Departments of English and Comparative Literature


CA, kschramm@berkeley.edu, 5106433771