English 151an. The Age of the Novel

Instructor: Tara Menon
Monday & Wednesday, 9:00-10:15am | Location: TBA

An introduction to canonical nineteenth-century British novels (Austen, Shelley, Dickens, Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot, Hardy, Conrad, Conan Doyle). We will pay particular attention to techniques of realism. How do these novels represent social interactions? What kinds of characters are included in the field of vision? What kind of labour, if any, is represented? How do they depict interiority and consciousness? How do the country and the city figure as symbols for the social and economic changes that come with the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism in nineteenth-century Britain? Topics for discussion include but are not limited to: land, property, agriculture, enclosure, class divisions, factories, industrialization, family, friends, strangers, innocence, nostalgia, finance, greed, manners, tradition. Alongside these novels, we will read both classic and contemporary criticism in an attempt both to understand how the field developed over time and where it stands now.