358:333 Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature

01  MTH3   CAC  18353   SIEGEL  MU-204

What does beauty mean?  What are we scared of?  How natural are the things we love? What might we understand to be the relationship between words and violence?  This course studies literature and culture at the point of transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It considers how the concerns of late Victorian culture came to result in the movements known as Modernism, but it is also interested in studying in depth some characteristic late nineteenth-century phenomena, such as Aestheticism and Decadence. Topics addressed will include the relations among the natural, the artificial, and the supernatural, and among fear, beauty, and desire. The role of women and the expansion of empire, will also be of interest. Authors will include Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, W. B. Yeats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, H. G. Wells, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad, as well as a number of decadent poets. The reading for this course will be heavy, but extremely interesting--our discussions will engage the relations among realism and fantasy, the nature of decadence and degeneration, the fears to be found behind the celebration of beauty, and the forms provoked by the anxieties of imperial adventures.

Attendance: Required--more than three unexcused absences will affect the grade.

Evaluation: Weekly reading quizzes; three papers; two exams; class participation