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On the left is George Eliot; on the right is a painting by Philip Burne-Jones in which the Modernist actress Stella Campbell plays "The Vampire." Perhaps these 2 pictures are two sides of the Victorian age as I understand it, and perhaps they are also two sides of each other.


Spring, 1996: Here are course Materials for English 255 and English 556 - Spring '96.

Fall, 1996: Here is my syllabus for English 255. Here is my syllabus for English 760. Here are course materials for English 760. Here is Cruikshank's "Fagin in the Condemned Cell" for English 255.

Fall, 1997: Herewith the syllabus for English 290, "Haunting Women." Here too are links to two classic ghost stories not included in the course: Sheridan Le Fanu's "Green Tea" and Oliver Onions'"The Beckoning Fair One."



On the left is an 1875 illustration of Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Gustave Dore. As you see, it is busier and blurrier than Coleridge's original. In W. Heath Robinson's illustration on the right, Coleridge's gaunt Mariner dissolves into Orientalist whimsy.

Here are two paintings based on Tennyson lyrics: Millais' Mariana on the left and Holman Hunt's The Lady of Shalott on the right. In Tennyson's poems, we see a plethora of things through the eyes of Mariana and the Lady of Shalott respectively. In the paintings, the axis of each poem is shifted, for the women are now among the things seen.

Burne-Jones's The Beguiling of Merlin supposedly illustrates Tennyson's Arthurian epic Idylls of the King. In Tennyson's idyll, though, wicked Vivien slithers like a snake at the feet of the sage Merlin; in the painting, he is about to slither around her erect form.

Victorian art specializes in creatures--slippery beings who exist in some indeterminate stew of orthodox religion, myth, and literary allusion. All its creatures, even its supposed deities, evoke non-Christian and possibly blasphemous objects of alternative faith.

Christian subjects like Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting of the annunciation on the left, Ecce Ancilla Domini, and Holman Hunt's concerned Christ in The Light of the World on the right are not far from emanations of a magic landscape such as Arthur Hughes' Ophelia, a literary character with an aura of mermaid.

And to what world of belief do these fairy paintings belong?

Who is this Child Enthroned?--is it the Christ child or a youngster more familiar, more female, and more imperious than the tender infant boy Victorian Anglicans wanted to love?

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