Fall 2016 Undergraduate English Courses: Nineteenth Century
358:436 The Prince and the Detective: Victorian Short Fiction
01 MW6 CAC 14253 HARRIS MU-107
The Victorian period gave us some of our most popular narrative genres, including the ghost story, the detective story, and science fiction. We will need to think about the genres of Victorian short fiction, and why certain genres may tend to gravitate towards shorter forms. What kind of narrative possibilities and constraints did the short story represent for Victorian authors? How did various genres exploit or grapple with these constraints? In the process, we will need to distinguish between a variety of different short fictional forms current in the period, including the tale, the novella, and the sketch, and think in turn about their relationship to other kinds of short prose, such as journalistic or travel writing. We will examine the influence of fables and fairy tales, as well as the impact of French and American models, through the work of writers like Guy de Maupassant and Edgar Allan Poe. How did the forms, techniques, and genres of short fiction influence the development of the Victorian novel?
Our authors may include Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Vernon Lee, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Andrew Lang.
Assignments will likely include short reading responses, class participation, a short midterm paper, and a final paper.