The Nineteenth-Century English Novel

Course title: The Nineteenth-Century English Novel
Instructor: Borislav Knežević
ECTS credits: 6
Form of instruction: three hours a week
Semester: 4th or 6th
Enrolment requirements: Introduction to the Study of English Literature 1 and 2

Course description: The course presents a survey of the English novel in the 19th century, the period of a great expansion of the genre of the novel in the context of a fast-growing literary market for the middle class. During that period the genre of the novel was strongly marked by the attempt of the novelists to take part in the shaping of social debates on important issues of British society in the context of fast changes. The selection of novels in this course is designed to illustrate some of the central social issues in the 19th century English novel, such as themes related to marriage, class ideologies, industrialization, the British Empire, and writing as a profession.

Objectives: In terms of content, the goal of the course is to familiarize the students with several novels from one of the most productive periods in the history of the English novel. 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 texts.

Course requirements: The grade is based on a written essay at the end of term (5 pages), a mid-term quiz, and a quiz at the end of term.

Week by week schedule:
week 1: Introduction
week 2: Persuasion
week 3: Persuasion
week 4: Hard Times
week 5: Hard Times
week 6: Hard Times, Aurora Leigh
week 7: First Quiz. Aurora Leigh
week 8: Aurora Leigh
week 9: Aurora Leigh, The Moonstone
week 10: The Moonstone
week 11: Essay due.
week 12: The Moonstone, The War of the Worlds
week 13: The War of the Worlds
week 14: The War of the Worlds
week 15: Second quiz.

Primary literature
Jane Austen, Persuasion
Charles Dickens, Hard Times
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Primary literature may also include the following novels:
Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton
W.M. Thackeray, Barry Lyndon
Anthony Trollope, The Warden
H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines
George Gissing, The Odd Women

Secondary literature (optional):
Catherine Gallagher, The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction, 1832—1867 (excerpts)
Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (excerpts)
Mary Poovey, Genres of the Credit Economy (excerpts)
Tony Tanner, Jane Austen (excerpts)
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society1780—1950 (excerpts)