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ENGL BC3177 Victorian Age in Literature: The Novel. 3 points.

“We have become a novel-reading people,” wrote Anthony Trollope in 1870. “Novels are in the hands of us all; from the Prime Minister down to the last-appointed scullery maid.” This course will consider why the novel was so important to Victorian culture and society. What made the Victorian novel such a fertile form for grappling with the unprecedented cultural changes of the nineteenth century? To address this question, we will explore how Victorian novels both responded to, and participated in, major social and cultural shifts of the period, including industrialism and urbanization; colonialism and empire; the changing status of women, sexuality, and marriage; the emergence of Darwinism; class conflict and social reform; and the expansion of education and literacy. This course will also consider more broadly what novels are for, and what the Victorians thought they were for. Do novels represent the world as it really is, or do they imagine it as it ought to be? What kinds of solutions to social and political problems can novels offer? Can novels ethically improve (or corrupt) their readers? We will consider these issues in the context of realism, Victorian literature’s trademark genre, but we’ll also explore an array of other genres, such as the industrial novel, the Bildungsroman, the sensation novel, detective fiction, and gothic fiction. Authors include Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, and others.

Spring 2021: ENGL BC3177
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 3177 001/00306 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Jayne Hildebrand 3 29/30