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02  MW4   CAC  18495  KUCICH   MU-115

Slow Reading the Classics: Middlemarch and Our Mutual Friend

This course will focus on two of the greatest classics of nineteenth-century English fiction: Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend (1865) and George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1872).  Both novels are long and complex, so we’ll read them slowly, devoting a great deal of class time to discussing particular passages and their contributions to the structure of each novel as a whole.  We’ll also read background essays of various kinds—historical, scientific, biographical, philosophical, and literary—to deepen our sense of the cultural contexts that helped produce these masterpieces, and to better enable us to appreciate and understand them.  One or two of these background readings will be assigned for nearly every class.  One short paper (5-6 pp.), one long paper (10-12 pp.), informal reading responses, an informal oral report, and regular attendance required.

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