English 190

Research Seminar: George Eliot and the Realist Novel


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2017 Kolb, Margaret
TTh 11-12:30 50 Barrows

Book List

Eliot, George: Adam Bede; Eliot, George: Daniel Deronda; Eliot, George: Felix Holt; Eliot, George: Middlemarch; Eliot, George: The Lifted Veil; Eliot, George: The Mill on the Floss

Other Readings and Media

A course reader will include selections of George Eliot’s poetry and prose nonfiction, as well as selections drawn from the writings of thinkers contemporary to her, including Charles Darwin, Auguste Comte, Charles Dickens, John Stewart Mill, and George Henry Lewes.

Description

Note the changes in the topic, book list, and course description for this section of English 190 as of early June, 2017.

Beginning at the age of 37, publishing under a male pen name,George Eliot reinvented the novel as we know it. Over the course of seven novels, she showed how, “with a single drop of ink for a mirror,” the realist novel could forge deep into characters’ inner lives, as well as far beyond them, to explain social change, resurrect lost pasts, and address pressing scientific questions. In this seminar, we’ll study Eliot's novels—what Virginia Woolf called “the incomplete story of George Eliot herself.” We’ll ask how meaningful Woolf’s link—between Eliot’s own story and Eliot’s fictional stories—might be. How do we organize questions of form, gender, voice, and genre through the figure of the author, and how did Eliot herself conceive of authorship through her writing? Through readings of five of Eliot’s major novels, as well as her short fiction, nonfiction prose, and poetry, we’ll track Eliot’s engagement with the conventions of the realist novel, her experimentations with narrative form and voice, and her relationship to the scientific, political, aesthetic, and philosophical debates contemporary to her. ​

The texts for this class will be available at University Press Books, on Bancroft Way.

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