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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joann L Kelly
ENGL 230
Seattle Campus

English Literary Culture: After 1800

British literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Study of literature in its cultural context, with attention to changes in form, content, and style.

Class description

In How Novels Think, Nancy Armstrong writes that “wherever novels are written and read they are, in all likelihood, reproducing the modern individual in both fiction and fact” (9). The claim that novels not only describe, but help construct, the subject, necessarily leads to more questions about the work of the novel and the nature of individuality itself. In this class, we’ll limit the scope of our inquiry to British literature written between the mid 19th and early 20th centuries, a time-period in which the novel became the dominant form of literary representation. We’ll further refine our focus by considering the role emotions play in the novel’s articulation of the subject. Different representations of how emotions work – from, say, depictions of deep psychological interiority to instinctual, animalistic responses – create radically different claims to subjectivity. To contextualize the work that novels did in defining and creating the feeling subject in this time period, we’ll turn to contemporary works from other disciplines that also significantly contributed to this conversation, such as the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin and the psychological work of Sigmund Freud. Literary texts will include: Villette, A Christmas Carol, Dracula, and What Maisie Knew. Additional reading selections, including critical texts and literature from other genres such as poetry, will be in a course packet.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Course requirements will include short response papers, a class presentation, and mid-term and final exams.


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 Joann L Kelly
Date: 11/12/2008