WGSS 333
The Nineteenth-Century British Novel Spring 2015
Division II
Cross-listed ENGL 333 / WGSS 333
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Imagine this: a form of art and entertainment that purports to be able to represent everything-intimate, even inaccessible human thoughts and feelings, love, class, the city, shopping, sexuality, bureaucracy, social bonds, industrialization, nationalism, even modernity itself. In this course we will try to understand the scope of the nineteenth-century British novel’s jaw-dropping representational aspirations: its claim to comprehend in its pages both the dizzying complexity of new social, political, and economic structures, as well as delineate in finest detail the texture of individual minds and lives. We will pay attention to the fictional modes by which apparently intractable social problems are resolved, through a sleight of hand act we seem never to tire of, in the realm of romantic love. And while we might think of the novel as an Empire of the Little, endlessly occupied with giving significance to the smallest acts of ordinary human life, we will think about the broader historical and social conditions the novel both represents in its pages, and is a crucial not-so-silent partner in promoting and contesting. We will also interest ourselves in the kind of under-the-counter work the Victorian novel does on behalf of British empire, as well as empire’s own behind-the-scenes work for the novel. Since so many of these stories of everyday life seem as familiar to us as everyday life, we will work hard to maintain what is strange and specific about the nineteenth century even as we recognize within these works the birth of so much that is modern in our own culture.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3646
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: 2 papers, a series of shorter response papers, regular and substantial contributions to class discussion
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: English majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 333 Division I WGSS 333 Division II
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories B

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