Graduate Program

350:641 - Domestic Fiction, Political Fiction: 1840-1880

Course No:  350:641
Index # - 28000
Distribution Requirement:  A4
Wednesday - 4:30 p.m.
MU 207

Domestic Fiction, Political Fiction:  1840-1880

John Kucich

There are no two sub-genres of Victorian fiction as seemingly distinct from one another as the domestic novel and the political novel (a category that encompasses “Condition of England” novels, social-problem novels, Chartist fiction, and parliamentary fiction). Yet both sub-genres emerged as popular forms in the 1840s, and it’s difficult to think of an instance of one that doesn’t incorporate the other, if only through a sub-plot or an allegorical affiliation. This course will explore the formal and thematic conventions typical of each sub-genre, as well as their complex convergences. The reading list will most likely include Harriet Martineau, Deerbrook; Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil; Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South and Wives and Daughters; Charles Dickens, Hard Times; George Eliot, Felix Holt; Margaret Oliphant, Miss Marjoribanks; Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage and Phineas Finn. We’ll read a classic prose text at the intersection of domestic and political concerns: John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women; we’ll also explore recent theoretical and contextualizing work by John Frow, Amanda Anderson, Franco Moretti, Fredric Jameson, Nancy Armstrong, Susan Fraiman, Lauren Goodlad, William Cohen, and others.