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Victorian Nightmares

ENGL 2730.301
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:29pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Pre-1900 Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major
Elective of the Standard Major

 

Victorian literature wrestled with a multitude of anxieties that plagued a nation facing radically new ways of life: Between 1837 and 1901, the British witnessed a vast expansion of their empire, a spate of class uprisings across Europe, and an industrial revolution. Already more than enough to keep a respectable Victorian up a night, these trends were compounded by rapidly changing gender roles, increasing class mobility, and troubling new ways of seeing the world, fostered by such figures as Darwin, Marx and Freud. And so the Victorians transformed their “political unconscious” into the stuff of nightmares, bequeathing us a host of ghosts, goblins, and vampires, and some of our most memorable images of mad scientists, child snatchers, powerful women and the French. We will consider how the Victorians transformed earlier gothic forms and how we continue to remake Victorian figures as we wrestle with what haunts us today. 2 papers, 1 final project, twice-weekly online discussion posts, and conspicuous in-class engagement.