Fall 2017 Undergraduate English Courses: Nineteenth Century

358:338 The Realist Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe

01  TTH5  CAC  18488  KURNICK  MU-212

The Realist Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe


This course examines fictional realisms of nineteenth-century Europe.  We will look at several national traditions to ask about the commonalities and differences among English, French, and Russian versions of what the nineteenth-century reading publics came to recognize, and what we still recognize, as “realistic,” and examine some major statements by nineteenth-century writers about their ambition to represent social reality.  Key questions will include the representation of social complexity, modernity, urban and provincial space, and gender and sexuality.  

A central goal of the course is for students to understand the practice and craft of literary criticism. The aim is to grasp the relationship between reading books and writing about them, and to see ourselves as part of a community of readers across the world who are debating the meanings of these novels. To these ends, we will read some significant pieces of literary criticism, and we will work together on crafting a final research paper.  Possible authors to be covered include Jane Austen, Honoré de Balzac, William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.