Jane J Lee
Studies in the novel in one of its classic phases. Authors include Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Thackeray.
This course covers some of the more influential British writers of the early-to mid-nineteenth century, at a point when the novel began to constitute a significant part of the periodís thriving literary culture. We will be examining the features of the genre, paying attention to some of the formal features, styles and literary influences of the novels we read. We will also be using the course texts as focal points for directing conversations about significant political, social and cultural issues each novel addresses. To do so, we will need to study relevant historical and other contextual information, some of which will be given in lectures, some which you will present to your classmates. This will help us better understand some of the arguments being made in and through these novels about a range of concerns, including issues of economy, industry and labor, race and imperialism, gender and class. Our goal will be to try and track the shifts between how each novel represents these prominent nineteenth-century concerns, while also noting both the distinctions and overlapping similarities between the generic features of each textóAustenís novel of manners, E. BrontŽís use of Gothic and Romantic elements, Dickensís melodramatic realism, and Thackerayís scathing brand of social realism.
You should expect a heavy reading schedule comprised of our novels as well as some secondary criticism. The course will be primarily discussion-based. Other student responsibilities include critical response papers, a take-home midterm and an in-class final. A group presentation is also a likely requirement.
Please note that you should be willing to read and engage with long and complex novels, ready to contribute to thoughtful and critical class discussions, open to challenging your understanding of literature and how to read it, and generally familiar with producing analytic writing.
Required Texts: Jane Austen, Persuasion. 1817. (Broadview: 978-1551111315) Emily BrontŽ, Wuthering Heights. 1847. (Broadview: 978-1551115320) Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. 1843. (Penguin: 978-0140439052) William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair. 1848. (Norton: 978-0393965957)
Student learning goals
Develop and apply critical reading skills to literature and secondary criticism
Strengthen cultural/historical knowledge of the period
Demonstrate engagement through sustained analytic writing
Contribute to thoughtful, intellectual conversation about course materials
Appreciation for/knowledge about c19 literature
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading