ENGL 300
Charles Dickens Fall 2015
Division I
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A semi-serious claim: modern London is an invention of Charles Dickens and the many novels he set in this city. Without Dickens, we would have no fogs falling like snowflakes from London’s chimneys and creeping down its streets, no sense of a city immense and buzzing beyond comprehension, no slums populated by choleric paupers, rag-pickers, bone collectors, and good-hearted children. This course is about the rise of the realist novel in the nineteenth century through the work of Dickens, arguably the heavyweight champion of the form, as well as a massive literary celebrity and impresario in his day. We will read widely across Dickens’ career, but with special attention to the London that took shape across his books. We’ll pay attention to how these works transform stories of getting and spending (i.e. the pursuit of economic interests) into dramas of romantic desire (and vice versa) and how they work both to uphold and overturn the social arrangements of gender, class, sexuality and race in nineteenth-century England. Likely readings include: Sketches by Boz, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1310
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 2 papers, 1 presentation, shorter writing assignments, regular participation
Prerequisites: 100 or 200-level ENGL course
Enrollment Preferences: English majors
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories B

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