Graduate Course Description

350:642 - Theory and Practice of Victorian Fiction

Course No: 350:642
Index # 15002
Distribution Requirement: A4, B
Time: Wednesday - 3:50 p.m.
Location: MU 207

Theory and Practice of Victorian Fiction

Leah Price

This seminar offers an opportunity to explore the material and linguistic forms of the Victorian fiction alongside the genres of literary criticism. Each week, we’ll read a different genre or mode (gothic, historical, satirical, juvenile, naturalist…) alongside a nineteenth-century commentary (book review, preface, obituary, marginalia…) and a twenty-first century intervention (article, book chapter, bibliography, video, database, exhibit). We’ll think together about what modes of argument are particular to a genre (the novel), a medium (print), a pace (serialization) and a set of institutions (library, bookstore, university). In order to figure out how new critical forms and archival formats are changing the rules of the critical game, we’ll experiment with weekly exercises in multiple genres of professional writing. We will therefore replace a single long research paper with a conference paper led up to by a series of shorter activities:

• glossing a keyword,
• captioning an object viewed in a field trip to a special-collections library,
• formulating questions, both to visiting authors and to your classmates,
• presenting research in a social-media thread,
• composing a conference abstract,
• asking and answering questions about research in progress.

Authors include Fenwick, Austen, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope,
Gaskell, Sewell and Gissing.