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Producing Novels, Consuming Fictions

ENGL 260.301
instructor(s):
MW 2-3:30

In this course we will study British and American novels, beginning with those written in the Romantic period and extending through the 19th century. We will focus in particular on literary production -- not only how novels were produced but also how novels represent their own and other processes of production. After all, these are books that imagine their worlds in detail, whether manufactured or made by hand, published or privately circulated, bought or bartered. Yet, they are also about consumption, from shopping and reading to invading and eating. 

With these in mind, we will focus closely on the authors and readers of our texts, thinking about how these novels represent their own production and consumption. We will also look at the role advertising played in stimulating consumer desire on both sides of the Atlantic where novels were printed, published, and circulated. We will visit the Van Pelt rare book library to look at the original print forms of the novels we read. Expect to read authors like Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Walter Scott, Anthony Trollope, William Dean Howells, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Eliot, Amy Levy, Grant Allen, and Bram Stoker. Course requirements may a few shorter papers and a final paper, as well as a research project and regular participation in discussion.