01 MW4 CAC 15882 KURNICK MU-115
The course is an introduction to the major topics and authors of a period of unprecedented change in religion, industry, empire, science, gender and sexuality, politics, and urban space. Victorian literature derives its energy from a host of irreconcilable ideas and realities: a Romantic emphasis on individual passion and freedom and a more modern stress on social conformity and productivity; the aristocracy’s age-old cultural power and the middle class’s increasing influence; traditional concepts of religious truth and new scientific ideas, including Darwin’s theory of evolution; sexual conservatism and the emergence of new sexual minorities; strict ideas of gendered difference and new roles for women; community ideals and the expansion of governmental and capitalistic institutions. Our emphasis will be on how imaginative literature makes sense of and contributes to these changes. We’ll be exploring a variety of genres (fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction prose).