English R1B

Reading and Composition: Style and Being Singular

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2019 Eisenberg, Emma Charlotte
MWF 1-2 233 Dwinelle

Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with secondary essays and criticism TBA.


“My being charming, Harriet, is not quite enough to induce me to marry; I must find other people charming—one other person at least.”
– Emma Wodehouse (Jane Austen)
“Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.”
– Lord Goring (Oscar Wilde)

In this course, we will consider the pleasures and the perils of being singular—a single or uncoupled person, as well as someone who just “stands out”. We will do so through two writers known for their distinctive writing style: Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde. Austen and Wilde bookend the nineteenth century, a period when individual style became increasingly important for a writer’s success in the marketplace. It was also a time when spinsters and “confirmed bachelors” were looked at askance for not participating in marriage and sexual reproduction. In our secondary readings, we will consider the relationship between style and lifestyle, as well as why certain 19th- century critics (and some subsequent theorists) have associated stylishness with celibacy or with an overt and problematic sexuality.

In accord with the purpose of R1B, this course will prepare and require students to write a research paper.

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