We will study the evolution of the nineteenth-century novel as it moves from Jane Austen's pastorals to the ruder ones of Thomas Hardy, exploring ways in which the novel at once reflects, soothes, and exacerbates the unspoken tensions within its culture. We will trace the disruptive pressure of increasingly powerful women and the intensifying pull of the past, which becomes more difficult to resist as modernity takes shape.
Novels we shall read include Jane Austen's Emma, Thackeray's Vanity Fair, and Dickens' Bleak House. Each student will be required to write a 10-page critical analysis of a novel outside the course syllabus. There will be a midterm and a final exam.