The Nineteenth-Century British Novel, EN 316R, Fall 2021 Dashboard


An analysis of the novel over the long nineteenth century with attention to illustrations and objects--A Private View at the Royal Academy, William Powell Frith, 1881

Angels, fallen women, eccentrics, and aspiring heroes and heroines populate our study of the nineteenth-century British novel.  This era of production and consumption witnessed rapid change in industry, communications, religion, education, and gender roles. We will consider the "woman question" and preoccupations with death, the pastoral, and the domestic family circle in novels by Jane Austen, William Makepeace Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy. Adopting a material cultural studies focus, we will examine material objects (e.g. a valentine, a writing desk) and events and places (e.g. The Battle of Waterloo, Stonehenge) that impact plot and characterization. To deepen our study of the long nineteenth century, students will research an object, place, or event and then present it first as a Power Point and oral presentation and subsequently as a case for a virtual gallery to be housed on the Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). Be advised:  this course is reading intensive.  Two of the books are “multi-plot” novels close to 900 pages long, but filled with exciting plot twists, complex characterization, and satisfying endings. In addition to the PPT and gallery case, students will write four two-page papers called briefs. The course will culminate in a 10-12-page research paper on three works. Students must be prepared to read critically, participate actively, research deeply, and write analytically.

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