ENGL 359
Irregular Unions in James and Ford
Last Offered Fall 2023
Division I
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

Henry James and Ford Madox Ford helped to inspire the crucial shift in British fiction from late 19th-century classic realism to the pathbreaking modernism of the 1920s. Their formal experiments were driven in striking ways by their response to recent dissident trends in attitudes toward sexuality, gender, and marriage, and their consequent engagement with so-called “irregular unions,” sexual relationships forged out of wedlock in the face of societal repression and in the name of more liberated ideas of sexual morality. For James and Ford, such revolutions in the social sphere prompted renewed scrutiny of conceptions of moral fidelity and integrity, new ways of capturing subjectivity and its limitations, and a radical probing of what it means to know. Their work reflects the transition from the norms of Victorianism to a disorienting modern world marked by newly permissive social behavior, class mobility and conflict, emergent technological and commercial forms, suffragism and “the New Woman,” and world war. We will study such novels as James’s What Maisie Knew and The Ambassadors and Ford’s The Good Soldier and Parade’s End.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 22
Expected: 16-18
Class#: 1848
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular class participation, two 8- to 10-page papers
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, a score of 5 on the AP English Lit exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English majors
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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