Britain’s recent departure from the European Union has provoked a range of responses, raising urgent questions about our past and future relationship with our neighbours on the Continent. Such questions are not new. From a literary perspective, they prompt us to ask what British national literature is, or should be. Is the whole idea of a national literature inseparable from the phenomenon of national languages? This module will take in a broad range of works first published in English and French in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, inviting you to study a variety of landmark texts. You will enter into the critical debate on the challenge to how we tell the story of the ‘rise’ of novel. Approaching the idea of Europe from the perspective of cultural transfers and cross-channel exchanges, you will think about the production and reception of translations. Lectures and seminars will allow you to investigate the book trade. We’ll ask if, how, and when, an understanding of European literary culture came into existence. We’ll look at how eighteenth and nineteenth-century writers from both sides of what has been called the Literary Channel viewed their Continental neighbours, and see writers from each nation in conversation with each other. Ultimately, you will be invited to question if a European literary identity can be traced through these Dreams, Nightmares and Ideas of Europe.