Marshall J Brown
The Romance of Real Life. Nineteenth-century realism counts romance as its defining Other: novels were supposed to be true, but they were also supposed to be interesting. Each writer confronted this crossroads differently and found a distinctive path toward an acceptable balance of forces. In this course we will examine examples of the problems of form and social understanding in long and short fiction ranging throughout the century and from numerous countries. Tentative list: Austen, Emma; Goethe/Scott, Goetz von Berlichingen; Pushkin, "The Captain's Daughter"; Balzac, Preface to the Comédie humaine; Dickens, Bleak House; Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables; Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Verga, stories. We will also read a few nineteenth-century programmatic documents and important relevant criticism.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Students are strongly encouraged to read Bleak House over the summer
Class assignments and grading
Students will give a class report and will write a 5000-6000 word essay on one of the fiction assignments.