Long before the spectacles of the digital age, Victorians experienced a technology boom in 19th-century Britain that revolutionized their culture. Innovations including rail travel, the telegraph, and factories seemed to collapse time and space. Steam engines powered everything from printing presses to the ships that crossed the vast reaches of the British Empire. This class will examine the ways Victorian writers struggled to make sense of the dizzying array of changes produced by these new technologies, including the sudden creation of a middle class, shifting gender roles, abusive factory conditions, and ever-expanding imperialist projects. Novels will include Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Elizabeth Gaskells' North and South, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret and H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Reading selections will also include the short story "The Telegraph Girl" by Anthony Trollope, poems by Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Rudyard Kipling and Lord Alfred Tennyson, as well as non-fiction by prominent essayists like Thomas Carlyle and John Stuart Mill. Course requirements include timely completion of assigned readings, group presentations, reading quizzes and active class participation. Students will be asked to write, and revise, two five to seven page papers.