Victorian Literature: Genres and Issues

Course title:  Victorian Literature: Genres and Issues
Instructor: Prof. Borislav Knežević
ECTS credits: 6
Status: elective
Semester: 3rd and 5th, 4th and 6th
Enrollment requirements:  Introduction to English Literature

Course description: This course is designed as an introduction to Victorian literature. The reading is made up by texts by representative works of some of the most important Victorian writers, and it covers the important genres of the period (fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose). The course will attempt to define the central themes of Victorian literature, that have to do with Victorian social makeup, industrialization, urbanization, imperialism, gender ideologies, and professionalization of writing. Much of our work will be conducted through a close reading of formal and historical properties of the selected texts.
Objectives: The course places an emphasis on active student engagement with the literary text, in order for the students to master the skills of interpreting literary text. One of the important goals of this course is to allow students to improve their skills of written analysis of literature.
Course requirements: The grade is based on a written essay at the end of term (5-6) pages, a mid-term quiz and a quiz at the end of term.

Week by week schedule:
1. week: Introduction
2. week: Poetry Tennyson
3. week: Poetry: Robert Browning; Elizabeth Barrett Browning

4. week: The novel: Dickens. Great Expectations
5. week: Dickens, Great Expectations. Gaskell, “Our Society at Cranford”
6. week: Gaskell, North and South.
7 week: First Quiz.  Gaskell, North and South
8 week: Gaskell. Cannadine
9 week: Social ethnography: Frances Trollope. Thackeray.  Mayhew.  Social criticism: Carlyle.
10 week: Ruskin.  J.S. Mill
11 week: Criticism: Arnold.  Essay due.
12 week: Poetry:  Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
13 week: Poetry:  D.G. Rossetti
14 week: Poetry: Arnold
15 week: Second quiz.            

Reading:
Required reading
:
Poetry:
Alfred Lord Tennyson, ”The Lotos-Eaters,”  “Ulyssess,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
Elizabeth Barret Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese
Robert Browning,  “My Last Duchess,”  “Love Among the Ruins”
Matthew Arnold, ”Dover Beach,” “The Buried Life”
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Blessed Damozel,”  “The Burden of Nineveh”

Nonfiction prose:
Thomas Carlyle, “Signs of the Times,” “Condition of England,” from Past and Present
W.M. Thackeray, The Book of Snobs (selection)

John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice (selection)
Matthew Arnold, “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time”
Walter Pater, The Renaissance (Preface)

Novels:
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

Optional reading:
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor
J.S. Mill, from The Subjection of Women
Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market”
Raymond Williams, “People of the City” from The Country and the City
Hilary Schor, “If He Should Turn to Beat Her: Violence, Desire and the Woman’s Story
in The Great Expectations
Jay Clayton, “Is Pip Postmodern? Or, Dickens at the End of the Twentieth Century”
Edward Said, “Dickens and Australia”
David Cannadine, “A Viable Hierarchical Society,” from The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain