Nineteenth-Century Sexuality and the Lack of It
Like so-called family entertainment today, nineteenth-century novels had to avoid explicit sexual description. We will study a group of class-conscious novels, asking ourselves whether the absence of explicit sexuality is a loss or a gain. We will also watch some recent film adaptations of these novels, in which explicit sex abounds, and discuss what is added and what is lost. Novels we shall read, and films we shall watch, include Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and MANSFIELD PARK; Thackeray’s VANITY FAIR; and D. H. Lawrence’s post-Victorian LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER.
Each student will write a midterm and a final exam. There will also be an optional paper focusing beyond the syllabus on a nineteenth-century novel (and possibly film) of your choice.