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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jamie E Oldham
ENGL 242
Seattle Campus

Reading Prose Fiction

Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.

Class description

For Victorian writer John Ruskin, home “is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and division. In so far as it is not this, it is not home.? The notion of a domestic sanctuary that could and would protect its inhabitants from the anxieties of the outside world was a powerful structuring myth in the Victorian era. However, luckily for the student of nineteenth century literature, the Victorian home was rather more porous than Ruskin’s description would lead us to believe: the worries and struggles of the factory, the poorhouse, the brothel, the public house, the teeming streets, etc., all found their way across the threshold to bask in the glow of the Victorian hearth. The novellas, poems, essays and short stories we will read in this course all meditate on the concept of home just as fervently as Ruskin does, but with one key difference: All of the homes in them will open wide the doors to “terror, doubt and division,? and will give us all the fodder we need to talk about hauntings, ghosts, crypts, prisons, insanity, murder, vampires, and decadence.

Student learning goals

To develop close reading and analytical skills

To place literary and non-literary texts in conversation with one another

To develop a critical framework for thinking about 19th century British fiction

To read and engage with current literary criticism

General method of instruction

Discussion, group work

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 Jamie E Oldham
Date: 03/15/2010