Welcome, students, to the new academic year at MacEwan University! This semester, you’re taking ENGL 352, which focuses on early Victorian literature from roughly the 1830s to the 1860s. In previous semesters, I’ve had students write blog entry assignments, all of which were posted on the blog you’re reading right now. This year, we’re going to try something different. I’ll talk about this in our first class of the semester on Thursday September 8. This blog will be an integral component of our course this semester. I will post material related to class discussions on a regular basis.
In the meantime, you will find below our weekly reading schedule. Please consult Blackboard for a detailed course outline and list of assignment instructions. I’m looking forward to getting to know you this semester, and to trying (as part of my yearly mission) to convince you that the Victorians were not sexually repressed, that they were not as strict in their separate spheres for men and women as we like to tell ourselves they were, and that their novels are not always 1000 pages long. Fundamentally, I hope this course serves as your introduction to one of the most culturally and aesthetically rich periods of literature in the English-speaking world.
Here’s the weekly schedule:
Week 1: Introduction to Early Victorian Literature / Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses.”
Week 2: Sages and Scholars in an “Age of Transition” / Thomas Carlyle’s “Signs of the Times” and Past and Present (selections); Matthew Arnold’s “The Scholar Gypsy” and “Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse.”
Week 3: The Brownings and Victorian Poetics / Robert Browning’s “Fra Lippo Lippi”; Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “A Musical Instrument.”
Week 4: Literary Representations of Class and Industrialization / Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children”; Eliza Cook “A Song for the Workers”; Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s “The Factory.”
Week 5: The Victorian Novel circa 1848 / Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Week 6: The Victorian Novel circa 1848/ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
Week 7: Representations of Race and Empire / Thomas Carlyle’s “Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question”; John Stuart Mill’s “The Negro Question”; Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and “A Curse for a Nation.”
Week 8: Faith, Knowledge, and Loss in the Victorian Cultural Imagination / Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H.
Week 9: Nature, Science, and Evolutionary Thought / In Memoriam A.H.H; Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle and On the Origin of Species (selections).
Week 10: Charles Dickens and the Networked Body / Charles Dickens’s “A Flight” and “A Narrative of Extraordinary Suffering.”
Week 11: The Victorian Sonnet Sequence in Context / Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese.
Week 12: Aesthetic Transitions in Victorian Literature circa 1860 / Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market.
Week 13: Cultural/Economic Transitions in Victorian Literature circa 1860 / Goblin Market; Karl Marx’s Capitalism Volume 1 (selections).