English R1B

Reading and Composition: Bleak House

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2022 Cohan, Nathan
MWF 10-11 DWIN233

Book List

Dickens, Charles: Bleak House (978-0141439723)

Other Readings and Media

Adaptations and secondary readings to be uploaded on bCourses


This course teaches reading, writing, and researching skills by applying them to one big book, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, which was not always one big book. Originally published in 20 monthly installments from 1852 to 1853, Bleak House has always posed to its readers a problem of scale and appetite—so we will also practice sustained attention to the “serial” as a form replicated in Bleak House’s radio and television adaptations. Students will practice formal analysis of those media and will enter the ongoing critical conversation about Dickens’ satirical novel by reading and responding to other scholars, who have so far used the novel to analyze such Victorian fantasies as the gender of empire, ecological catastrophe, and spontaneous combustion, among a wide array of others.

Students will write, peer-review, and rewrite a series of literary-critical essays, with the goal of fostering attentive reading and viewing, imaginative analysis, and bold writing. As this course fulfills the R1B requirement, we will focus on scaling progressively longer essays and understanding and responding to secondary scholarly sources.

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