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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kathleen Blake
ENGL 333
Seattle Campus

English Novel: Early and Middle Nineteenth Century

Studies in the novel in one of its classic phases. Authors include Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Thackeray.

Class description

English Novel, Early to Mid-19th C.: Gothic/Fantastic/Realist

Study of the genre of the novel in Britain as it comes into its "classic" age in the mid-19th C. We trace a development which is also an intermingling of gothic, fantastic, and realist elements. Our first reading is Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, a spoof of 18th C. gothic fiction (we'll look at short 2ndary selections from Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, and touch on some fairytale sources). Austen's small-scale early novel is a manifesto and model for her own brand of psychological and social realism, which we will study further in its fuller, much-celebrated expression in Pride and Prejudice. At the same time, the great power of the gothic, or as it may be termed, fantastic fiction, is evident in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The gothic and fantastic have on-going power. They become part of the realism of Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens in the major, powerfully compelling novels with which we conclude, Villette and Hard Times. Such a realism is psychological, while it is also social. To enhance understanding of the developing novel, and keyed to each main text, relevant background will be given on developing social realities of the period: burgeoning democracy, individualism, and capitalism; scientific/technical innovation and the industrial revolution; spreading imperialism; and shifting gender roles (we'll look at short 2ndary selections from John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" and "The Subjection of Women" and Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Jeremy Bentham's "Table of the Springs of Action"). 2ndary selections (Radcliffe, Mill, Smith, Bentham) available as class handouts or electronic reserves. Several critical readings available within our editions of the novels or on reserve. Clips shown from recent video/film productions of Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein. Lecture-discussion format; in-class commitment required and contributions can count (up to +/- .3 on course grade); take-home midterm (short answers and @5 pp. essay 30%); critical paper with choice of topic (@8 pp. 40%); in-class final with significant essay component (30%). All required work must be completed according to the schedule.

Student learning goals

Knowledge/appreciation of early 19th C British literature

Knowledge/appreciation of the genre of the novel

Enhanced historical awareness of the period

Development of critical skills

Development of critical analytic writing skills

Opportunity to develop skills in speaking/interaction in small and larger groups (voluntary basis)

General method of instruction


Recommended preparation

The majority of class members likely to be upper-division English majors.

Class assignments and grading

See overall course description above.

See overall course description above

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 Kathleen Blake
Date: 02/11/2010