Intro to Victorian Lit & Culture
The Victorian age represents the final stage of what a number of scholars have come to call "middle modernity": the eighteenth and nineteenth century period that gives birth to mass literacy, ideas of human rights (including women's rights and children's rights), industrialization, imperialism, secularization. This course explores the fiction, poetry, and non-fiction prose of the Victorian era in conjunction with historical analysis of this emerging modernity. We will pay special attention to questions of literary value, to evolving hierarchies of literary genres, and to fields of cultural production. You can expect to read from the following authors: Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Mona Caird, Arthur Hugh Clough, Charles Dickens, Toru Dutt, George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Mary Seacole, Alfred Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde. We will also look at the nineteenth-century British reception of American literature, such as Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.