Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

London in Literature

ENGL 293.301
MW 3-4:30

Since the seventeenth century, a distinctly urban literature has evolved about London and its culture. That literature has taken many forms, and regards the city from varying perspectives, including the center for crime, a place of disease and perversion, a locus for sexual libertinism and experiment with drugs and alcohol, a center of corruption, of government, of clandestine operations, of learning and science, and so on. In this course, we will study and analyze some of the literature and films in which these ideas have been expressed. Here is a sample of the works we will read: Jonson, Bartholomew Fair; Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year; Gay, The Beggar's Opera; Dickens, David Copperfield; Wilde, Dorian Gray; Conrad, The Secret Agent; Woolf, Mrs.Dalloway; Greene, The End Of the Affair; Pinter, The Homecoming. There will be a course home page, with additional reading, both of primary and secondary materials. Course requirements: no examinations, two short essays, one longer paper.