Emily M. James
British literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Study of literature in its cultural context, with attention to changes in form, content, and style.
"Poisonous Novels and Their Readers: The Production and Consumption of British Literature, 1800 to present" This course offers a fast-paced survey of English literature, 1800 to present. We will pay special attention to how writers described their craft in relation to the public, especially as phenomena like mass literacy, mass readership, and mass publication emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Our primary theme will be the novel and its controversial effects on readers: is novel-reading a morally corrupt activity? We’ll read some novels that seriously consider this question and other novels that make fun of it. Much of this course will focus on close-reading the novels themselves, but we will also discuss how each of these works responded to its social, cultural, and political atmosphere. Authors will likely include Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, and Ian McEwan.
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