The course will examine the impact of evolutionary theory on fiction written before and after Darwin's ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES. Questions we shall ask of this literature include the following: is it godless? What in it constitutes progress? What does it believe in? What frightens it? The works we shall read include Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, Dickens's DAVID COPPERFIELD, Tennyson's IN MEMORIAM, excerpts from Darwin's ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES and DESCENT OF MAN, George Eliot's THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, and Dreiser's SISTER CARRIE.
Each student will write a 10-page paper on some work or works not covered on the syllabus. In addition, there will probably be a midterm and a final examination.