English 250

Research Seminar: Victorian Cultural Studies

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2017 Puckett, Kent
W 9-12 301 Wheeler British 19th-Century
British 20th- and 21st-Century
Literary Theory
Graduate Courses

Book List

Berger, J.: Ways of Seeing; Coleridge, S.T.: Biographia Literaria ; Eliot, G.: Middlemarch; Eliot, T.S.: The Sacred Wood; Empson, W.: Some Versions of Pastoral; Hoggart, R.: The Uses of Literacy; James, C.L.R.: Beyond a Boundary; Mill, J.S.: On Liberty; Newman, J.H.: The Idea of a University; Richards, I.A.: Practical Criticism; Williams, R.: The Long Revolution; Woolf, V.: To the Lighthouse

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with selections from Carlyle, Ruskin, Arnold, Morris, Wilde, Tylor, Hulme, Frazer, Malinowski, Leavis, Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Nairn, Hall, Hebdidge, Gilroy, and others.


This course will follow the long history of the culture concept in Britain.  We will begin by working through Raymond Williams’ account in Culture & Society in order to see how several senses of the word “culture”—culture as “the idea of human perfection,” as “society as a whole,” as “the general body of the arts,” or as “a whole way of life”—appear and reappear in Coleridge, Mill, Carlyle, Arnold, Eliot, Newman, Ruskin, and Morris.  We’ll supplement these readings with selections from the emerging fields of nineteenth-century anthropology, ethnography, and sociology.  In the course’s second half, we’ll follow the culture concept as it makes its way through twentieth-century Britain: before, between, and after the wars (T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, I. A. Richards, Q. D., and F. R. Leavis); in the long, fraught wake of British socialism (Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, C. L. R. James, and E. P. Thompson); and in the “New Times” of British cultural studies under and after Thatcher (Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, and Dick Hebdige).  In the process of reading through these works, we’ll consider the strange tenacity of an especially Victorian idea, a particularly British effort to mark out practical relations between the social and the aesthetic, and the institutional and literary roles that education and, in particular, adult education have played in the post-Romantic imagination.

This course may be used to satisfy the Group 4 (19th Century),Group 5 (20th Century), or the Group 6 (Non-historical) requirement.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/2 Research Seminar: How to Write a Book Kahn, Victoria
250/3 Research Seminar: Paranoid States: Empire and the Rise of the Surveillance State Saha, Poulomi
250/4 Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism Abel, Elizabeth
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Collaboration Goodman, Kevis
250/2 Research Seminar: Modernism in Poetry and in Art Altieri, Charles F.
250/3 Research Seminar: Idols and Ideology—Readings in Augustine, Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Kant, Marx, Freud, Althusser Kahn, Victoria
Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Representing Non-Human Life in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain Picciotto, Joanna M
250/2 Research Seminar: Ethnic Modernisms Lee, Steven S.
250/3 Research Seminar: Literature and the Brain Gang, Joshua
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Capitalist Crisis and Literature Gonzalez, Marcial
250/2 Research Seminar: The Limits of Historicism Best, Stephen M.
250/3 Research Seminar: How It Strikes a Contemporary: Reading the Novel in the 21st Century Snyder, Katherine
Snyder, Katie
250/4 Research Seminar: Modernism's Metaphysics Blanton, C. D.
Fall, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar: Literature of the English Revolution Picciotto, Joanna M
250/2 Research Seminar: Medieval Literary Thought Justice, Steven
250/3 Research Seminar: Black + Queer Ellis, Nadia
250/4 Research Seminar: John Donne and T.S. Eliot: Lyric Poetry and Society Marno, David
Spring, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
250/1 Research Seminar Best, Stephen M.
250/2 Research Seminar: The Grammar of Poetry, the Poetry of Grammar Altieri, Charles F.
250/3 Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, and Modernism Abel, Elizabeth
250/4 Research Seminar Falci, Eric

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