English 100

Junior Seminar: Work in the Mid-Victorian Novel-- Elisabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2005 Ben-Yishai, Ayelet
MWF 1-2 109 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

Dickens, C.: Sketches by Boz, Hard Times, Great Expectations; Gaskell, E.: Mary Barton, Cranford, North and South; course reader containing essays and excerpts from Victorian social, economic, and political texts


"In this course we will read novels by two of Victorian England's most brilliant writers of social fiction, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens. Focusing on theme of work, we will discuss central questions of Victorian social, economic and political life such as class structure, industrialism, empire, reform, social mobility, utilitarianism, Marxism, and the debate over ""The Condition of England."" Looking at manual and domestic labor, clerical and professional work, work-houses and factories, we will examine the relationship between work and social class. We will ask whether and why a woman's work is never done; think about the role of work in capitalism; and consider the way the work of the individual relates to the identification of a national and imperial economy. Finally, discussing the writer as worker, we will move from an analysis of work in the novel to an inquiry into the work of the novel. Through a close study of the work of narration and story-telling we shall examine the how work goes beyond subject matter to influence the structure and form of the text. "

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