Erin O'Connor

English 55
The Victorian Novel

Spring 2001
TR 9-10:30

This course provides an introduction to the Victorian novel. We will focus our attention on some of the major fiction of the period, attending to issues of style and form as well as to how the novel participates in Victorian debates about poverty, sexuality, morality, change, and imperialism. Tracking recurrent literary obsessions with questions of justice, nervousness, contagion, consumption, desire, depravity, and, not surprisingly, reading, we will study how the Victorian novel helped an emergent industrial society imagine itself into being.

Required Texts (available at Penn Book Center)

Charlotte Bronte,  Villette
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
Henry James, Daisy Miller

A bulkpack, available at  Campus Copy Center

Course Requirements:

One short paper (5-7 pages), due March 8
One longer paper (10-12 pages) due May 3
Weekly listserv postings
Lively class participation
Regular attendance
Click here to read course policies.

Schedule of Readings:

Jan 16 intro
Jan 18 Dickens, Dombey and Son

Jan 21 Dombey and Son
Jan 23 Dombey and Son
 Selections from Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (BP)

Jan 28 Dombey and Son
 Patrick Brantlinger, from The Reading Lesson (BP)
Jan 30 Dombey and Son

Feb 6 Bronte, Villette
Feb 8 Villette

Feb 13 Villette
 Elaine Showalter, from The Female Malady (BP)
Feb 15 Villette
 Bronte's correspondence with George Henry Lewes (BP)

Feb 20 Eliot, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists"
Feb 22 Eliot, Amos Barton

Feb 27 Amos Barton
Feb 29 Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (BP)

March 6 Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
March 8 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

March 13 Spring Break
March 15 Spring Break

March 20 Collins, The Moonstone
March 22 The Moonstone
     Patrick Brantlinger, "The Well at Cawnpore" (BP)

March 27 The Moonstone
March 29 James, Daisy Miller

April 3  James, "The Art of Fiction" (BP)
April 5  Hardy, Jude the Obscure

April 10 Jude the Obscure
April 12 Jude the Obscure
   Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "The New Woman as Androgyne"

April 17 Jude the Obscure
April 19 Wilde, "Decay of Lying"

April 24 Wilde, Importance of Being Earnest
April 26 synthesis