English 190

Research Seminar: Victorian Sensations


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2013 Knox, Marisa Palacios
MW 4-5:30 221 Wheeler

Book List

Braddon, M.: Lady Audley's Secret; Collins, W.: The Woman in White; Eliot, G.: Adam Bede; Wilde, O.: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Other Readings and Media

Course reader

Description

The literary genre of the Victorian sensation novel of the 1860s-1870s was defined less by its form and content than by the response it was supposed to engender in its readers. This course will explore the significance of physical and psychological sensation across a range of genres throughout the Victorian period, as sensation was applied to fiction as well as to related concerns and controversies in science, crime, sexuality, art, and politics. How did the stereotypically prudish Victorians value and represent different types of sensory experience? What was the role of literature in portraying and provoking sensations? Was the reader an active or passive participant? How was the sensation reader imagined in terms of gender and class? How was the genre of sensation formed, and who produced it? What were the ethical dimensions of sensation? We will seek to answer these questions and many others through immersion in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and miscellaneous feelings of Victorian literature. In addition to the required novels above and excerpts from modern literary scholarship, the class will read numerous articles and excerpts from Victorian periodicals that produce and theorize the shifting category of sensation. Students will be required not only to write a final 20-page seminar paper, but also to take an active role in compiling, editing, and presenting a “class archive” of relevant historical texts.

Please read the paragaph on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

 

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