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Literature 565 (Victorian Fiction)

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago


Course Description


The general purpose of this course is to give you an introduction to British Victorian fiction. To this end, we will be discussing the novels on the syllabus in their socio-historical contexts as well as in terms of recent scholarly interpretations. Considerations of the role of literature in shaping and reflecting culture will inform our discussions, as will other primary texts published contemporaneously with the novels. As we read all of these texts, we’ll think about the development of the novel as a genre, particularly in terms of important sub-genres within the century such as bildungsroman and sensation fiction. We’ll consider how novels represent Victorian identities, how class shaped reading and discursive practices, and how the culture (re)defined the relationship between authors and the reading public. We’ll pay attention to how and why certain novelists were deemed “wholesome,” while others were “dangerous.”  Within the context of reading as an important social practice, we’ll examine the implications of having characters who reproduced norms of respectability or who voiced dissatisfaction with or exercised important social challenges to various elements of the status quo. Thus, we’ll be looking at Victorian texts not just as cultural artifacts, but also as voices in dialogue with readers. We’ll explore the disjunction, for example, between the mass popularity of some novels and the extremely negative “academic” or “critical” responses they received. As we explore the Victorian novel, we’ll also explore cultural assumptions about identity, writing, gender and class, and we’ll discuss how these Victorian novels fit into the larger context of the development of the novel since the 18th century.

Course Calendar (secondary readings TBA)


T8  Course introductions, requirements, wiki project.
Reading, the reading public, literacy.   Introduction to Dickens and serial reading. Read-aloud session David Copperfield
T15 Class meets in G07B Halle Library
Jane Eyre, chs. 1-16 (pp. 63-238)
David Copperfield, chapters 1-6
            Tutorial on using the wiki; discussion of selecting appropriate texts to annotate.
T22 Jane Eyre, chs. 17-26 (pp. 239-384)
The Governess Question: Appendix C
        Recommended: Brontë on being a governess: Appendix B
David Copperfield, chapters 7-12
T29 Jane Eyre, chs. 27-end (pp. 387-560)
      Bewell: “Jane Eyre and Victorian Medical Geography”
      Parody by Bret Harte (Coursepack)
       Recommended: Jamaica: Appendix F
 David Copperfield, chapters 13-18
            By now you should have chosen your wiki text(s), created the template page, and begun transcribing/uploading the text.
T5 Mary Barton
David Copperfield, chapters 19-24
T12 Mary Barton
David Copperfield, chapters 25-31
WIKI PROJECTS DUE by February 17.
T19 Mary Barton
David Copperfield, chapters 32-37
T4   Excerpts from Robinson Crusoe (Coursepack)
Love and Friendship (coursepack)  
The Moonstone, Preface-all of Gabriel Betteredge’s Narrative (pp. 47- 254)
McCuskey: “The Kitchen Police”
David Copperfield, chapters 38-43
            Research Paper Proposal Due
T11 The Moonstone, Miss Clack’s Narrative-Franklin Blake’s Narrative (255-466)
Appendix D: Collins on Indians (587-593)
Duncan: “The Moonstone, the Victorian Novel, and Imperialist Panic”
Mehta: “English Romance; Indian Violence”
David Copperfield, chapters 44-49
            Your commentary on two other wiki projects is due by today.
T18 The Moonstone, Ezra Jennings’s Journal-end (466-542)
Appendices B and C (560-586)
“A Study in Scarlet”  by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Coursepack)
David Copperfield, chapters 50-56
T25 A Pasage to India
Excerpts from travel guides to India
David Copperfield, chapters 57-64: we’ll also discuss the serial reading process
T1 A Passage to India
Introduce conference project: small amount of class time to locate suitable conference posting
T8 A Passage to India
            Research paper due
Conference proposals as attachment to research project – due TODAY
T15 The Picture of Dorian Gray, (whole novella)
On Wilde’s aesthetic theories: Appendices A and C
The Wilde Trial: Appendix F
Dellamora: “Homosexual Scandal and Compulsory Heterosexuality in the 1890s”
Recommended: Contemporary Reviews: Appendix H
Final Exam Session: Tuesday April 22, 6:30pm-9:30pm: Grad student conference. You need to email your abstract and full-text of your paper as an RTF to me no later than 5pm on the 22nd, so that I can post them on the ERs page.

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