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The Nineteenth-Century British Novel

ENGL 055.001
TR 3-4:30pm

This course offers an introduction to British fiction of the nineteenth century—an era during which Great Britain reached the height of its global power, and the novel reached the height of its cultural influence. We will examine how novels invited their rapidly expanding mass audience to grapple with the sweeping transformations that shaped the century: industrial capitalism, the growth of large cities, imperial expansion, political reform, secularization, new scientific paradigms, technological development (from steam power and railways to photography and the telegraph), class struggle, debates on the “Woman Question,” and theories of race as well as sexuality whose consequences still confront us today. As we explore this remarkably prolific period in the history of the novel, we will consider how a variety of genres (including the Gothic, the novel of manners, the Bildungsroman, realism, sensation fiction, and naturalism) redefined the relationship between literature and modern social life. Readings will include works of fiction by Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, and Thomas Hardy.

fulfills requirements
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major