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Victorian Novel

ENGL 055.001
MWF 11

This course provides an introduction to the Victorian novel. We will focus our attention on some of the major fiction of the period, attending to issues of style and form as well as analyzing how the novel participates in Victorian debates about poverty, sexuality and imperialism. Tracking recurrent literary obsessions with questions of nervousness, contagion, consumption, and desire, we will study how the Victorian novel helped an emergent industrial society imagine itself into being. Novels will include Charles Dickens, _Our Mutual Friend_; Wilkie Collins, _The Woman in White_; Emily Bronte, _Wuthering Heights_; George Eliot, _Silas Marner_; Thomas Hardy, _Tess of the D'Urbervilles_; Lewis Carroll, _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_; Rider Haggard, _She_; Bram Stoker, _Dracula_. In order to situate these works in their social, political and aesthetic contexts, we will supplement our literary readings with a variety of non-fictional writings from the Victorian period, ranging from public health reports to medical case studies to aesthetic theory. In addition, we will survey some of the major contemporary writing on Victorian culture, sampling the work of such critics as Mary Poovey, Elaine Scarry, Walter Benjamin, and Michel Foucault. Requirements for the course: 2 formal papers, one short (6-8 pp), and one long (15 pp); weekly listserve postings; regular attendance; lively class participation; and a final exam.