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London in Literature: Novel Urban Spectacles

ENGL 060.950
instructor(s):

In this five-week course we will study the history of the British novel through its representations of Britain's central city, London. We will read five novels in five weeks and will also read a few accounts of the novel's history and characteristics. In addition, we will visit many of the sites (and sights) that the novels themselves represent, from East London and London Bridge to Greenwich, Tyburn Tree, Sadler's Wells, and Covent Garden. Our aim will be to understand the symbiotic relationship existing between London and the novel, and to understand how the growth of the former-and its habit of remaking itself into a series of spectacles and shows-affects the evolution of the latter. Texts will include Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year, Dicken's Great Expectations, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Carey's Jack Maggs.