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The Death of the Sun: Energy, Evolution & Ecology in Victorian Fiction

ENGL 255.301
instructor(s):
MW 3:30-5pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Pre-1900 Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major
Elective of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

Two Victorian ideas--energy and evolution--form the basis of modern ecology. But among Victorians, these concepts fueled and were shaped by the hopes and fears, anxieties and aspirations of a nation coping with change. Fears regarding the death of the sun competed with deeply held beliefs about conservation as well as with the hope for unlimited progress. This course explores the ways Victorian literature wrestled with and helped shape the way we understand ourselves and the natural world. Authors read include Tennyson, Wells, Dickens, Hopkins, Gaskell, as well as contemporary ecocritics such as Lawrence Buell, Kate Soper, Heidi Scott and Timothy Morton.