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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jane J Lee
ENGL 212
Seattle Campus

Literature, 1700-1900

Introduces eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments of the period. Topics include: exploration, empire, colonialism, slavery, revolution, and nation-building. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

Literary Educations and Novel Instructions

This class will be a selective survey of British fiction post-1800. To focus down such a wide range of material, our readings and discussions will be loosely centered around reading and education, because these rubrics and their many iterations will allow us to touch on many key issues and concerns in our historical range.

Unquestionably an age of widespread print production and the increased opportunity for access to reading material, the nineteenth century saw much anxiety and debate about what kinds of reading material were proper for different persons and groups. Central to this debate was education—not only in an institutional sense, but in moral, cultural, and political ones as well. The framework of education encompassed questions of who should be educated and in what manner, how those educations ought to be carried out, and the social and political implications of certain forms of educational practice and ideology, which were actively taken up in many discourses, and heavily in literature, which was itself seen as a means of education. Novels sometimes took up the purpose of teaching their readers about social dissension, economic disparity, gendered roles and political struggle, while at other times creating harmony and romance in their narratives to elide the portrayal of these differences. Often, as we will see, the novels did both, criticizing some forms of social reality while teaching their audiences their own versions of what problems needed to be addressed. Examining how these concerns are raised in their contexts and via the literature which engages them will provide us with a common analytic through which we will be able to examine many issues touching the “education” of the nineteenth-century subject such as gender, empire, industry, and class. Following these conversations, we will end with a novel that turns a critical lens onto what emerges out of nineteenth-century aesthetic and intellectual culture and education to reflect on questions of modernity.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 1865. (978-0141439761) Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. 1850. (978-0140439441) Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South. 1855. (978-0140434248) Hardy, Thomas. Jude the Obscure. 1895. (978-0-393-97278-8) Course Pack, available at Ave Copy (4141 University Way)

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Please be advised that this is not a W-credit course. Expect a rigorous reading schedule for the course. Other student responsibilities may include short response papers, in-class freewrites, a collaborative presentation, consistent participation in class discussion, a midterm and final exam.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jane J Lee
Date: 02/01/2010