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Undergraduate English Courses

358:336 Nineteenth Century British Fiction

01  MW6  CAC  14189   QUALLS  MU-208

This course examines central texts in the development of an idea of the 19th-Century English novel tradition: Charles Dickens' Oliver Tiwst, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton, George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer.

Novels will be considered in their cultural and historical contexts, with particular focus on industrialism and the novel, on the novelists' response to England as an international power, on the representation of women, and on the place of women writers in articulating the nature of the "Victorian" novel. The course will consider various sub-genres of 19th-Century novels: the novel of male or female development, the crime and detective novel, the sensation novel (the Victorian "pot-boiler"), the psychological thriller. Finally, we will work to define the ideas of both "realism" and the moral aesthetic to which most of the novelists were committed (in diverse ways). Chief methodology: close reading.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of: (1) four 2-3 page exercises (40% of grade) and two 5-7 page essays (40% of grade); and (2) a final exam (20% of grade). Attendance and participation are expected at all class sessions. Discussion sessions (voluntary) are scheduled each week for students who want more time for discussing the novels; the final exam will be optional for students attending these sessions.