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Spectacular Victorian Suffering

ENGL 556.301
instructor(s):
T 3-6:00

Victorian literature is so close to death and loss, so attuned to mourning, that for some readers it threatens to drown in its own tears. We shall read myriad examples of sad Victorian works (among them Dickens's DOMBEY AND SON, George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH, Tennyson's IN MEMORIAM, Hardy's JUDE THE OBSCURE, Pinero's play THE SECOND MRS. TANQUERAY, Ibsen's HEDDA GABLER, and various short poems and tales). In all, we will analyze the degree to which suffering is stripped of intimacy, becoming instead a theatrical pageant for the audience's enjoyment.

Each student will give at least one oral report in class; each will write a 20-odd page paper on a work or works not on our syllabus.