Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

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Victorian Wonder
The Great Exhibition of 1851 brought together an unprecedented number of goods and people from all over the world to London. Held in the Crystal Palace, a design marvel of glass and iron, the exhibition was a spectacle of industry, technology, and art and a display of British global power. The Great Exhibition will provide a focal point through which the course will study different forms of Victorian curiosity—excitement over new things and new forms of entertainment. Through this course, we will explore nineteenth-century genres that developed alongside modern wonder like sensation fiction, detective novels, and theatrical melodramas. Scientific innovation, integral to these genres, also made its way into the public consciousness through popular journalism, travel narratives, and science fiction. Possible texts include Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.



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