ENGL456 - The Nineteenth-Century English Novel

Although we will be reading a select group of texts, our larger concern will be to understand the literary, cultural, and social functions of the novel (and its subgenres) in nineteenth-century Britain, and the extent to which these functions may have changed or taken on new meanings in their American revisions. We will pair texts as we examine some of the most significant generic forms produced on both sides of the Atlantic: 1) the courtship-marriage novel (Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Fanny Ferns’s Ruth Hall); 2) the novel of the city (Dickens’s Bleak House, Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and their Friends); 3) novellas of psychology and the occult (George Eliot’s “The Lifted Veil,” Henry James’s “The Beast in the Jungle"); the seduction novel (Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Charles Chesnutt’s, The House Behind the Cedars). REQUIREMENTS: reading quizzes, short paper, midterm, long paper, final exam.


Two English courses in literature or permission of the department.