English 203

Graduate Readings: Victorian Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2009 Gallagher, Catherine
Gallagher, Catherine
T 9:30-12:30 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Brontë, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (Norton Critical); Brontë, Emily, Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical); Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical); Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations (Norton Critical); Eliot, George, Middlemarch (Norton Critical); Hardy, Thomas, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Norton Critical); Thackeray, William, Vanity Fair (Barnes & Noble Classics)


Over 7,000 novels were published in Victorian England; we’ll read the best seven.  The course will emphasize the place of novels and novelists in a variety of Victorian cultural innovations, such as the creation of modern cosmopolitan and historical consciousness, of changing temporal perceptions, of deep psycho-sexuality, and of new aesthetic expectations.  We will be interested as well in how novels helped reorganize social categories and seemed to give substance to the very concept of “society”.   We will be asking why the novel, a genre explicitly disclaiming to represent real persons and events, came to be implicated in such large cultural and social transformations.  What was it about the novel’s form, specifically, that equipped the genre for its role in helping to make the modern world?  And what is it about these novels, individually, that seems to exceed the category “Victorian”? You will write one short oral report and two papers suitable for twenty-minute oral presentations at conferences.

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