ENGL 335 A: English Literature: The Age Of Victoria

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
Location: 
EEB 105
SLN: 
13852
Instructor:
Jesse Oak Taylor
Jesse Oak Taylor

Syllabus Description:

Victorian Britain was the world’s first industrialized society; the center of an empire on which “the sun never set” (until, of course, it did). Victorians enjoyed a previously unimaginable standard of living, ruled an empire of global pretensions, and swarmed from the country to the city, inventing a pattern of settlement that now dominates the globe. They traveled by railroad, listened to phonographs, flew in hot-air balloons, and sent messages over wires. They also faced persistent problems like poverty, crime and environmental pollution, and had to come to terms with scientific ideas such as geologic time, evolution, and entropy that unsettled received ideas about the status of life itself.

            The Victorian era saw the rise of what we would think of as popular culture, especially in the form of numerous magazines, newspapers, and paperbacks that made literature available to a newly literate mass audience in previously unknown ways. This was due both to the mechanization of paper-production and printing, and (especially later in the century) to widespread literacy due to compulsory education. These shifts dramatically altered the status of literature, which became less the province of a few well-educated elites and more widely integrated into everyday life.

            In this course, we will explore literature’s role as both participant in and record of the radical social, technological, and ecological changes that rocked Victorian Britain and the world. We will consider literature as an art form, a technology, and a cultural institution. We will trace the ways in which it participated in debates about the changing relations between humans and nature in the period, including ideas of progress, evolution, race, empire, gender, sexuality, and the status of animals and machines. We will also think about what it means to read these texts not in their age but in our own, and look to the ways in which the afterlives of the Age of Victoria continue to emerge.

 

Readings:

The following editions will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore. You are welcome to use other editions of the novels, provided they are unabridged. Additional readings, including poems and excerpts of Victorian nonfiction prose, will be made available on the course Canvas site. 

 

Charles Dickens. Great Expectations. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199219766

George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199536764

Rudyard Kipling. Kim. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199536467

 

Additional readings will drawn from the works of authors such as: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Lyell, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, John Ruskin, Alice Meynell, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walter Pater, and William Morris. 

Additional Details:

English 335a: The Age of Victoria
Spring 2015: T/Th 12:30-2:20 Electrical Engineering Bldg. 105
Professor: Jesse Oak Taylor
Office Hours 11-12 T/Th A-405 Padelford
email: jot8@uw.edu; phone: 608-698-8710 (mobile)

Victorian Britain was the world’s first industrialized society; the center of an empire on which “the sun never set” (until, of course, it did). Victorians enjoyed a previously unimaginable standard of living, ruled an empire of global pretensions, and swarmed from the country to the city, inventing a pattern of settlement that now dominates the globe. They traveled by railroad, listened to phonographs, flew in hot-air balloons, and sent messages over wires. They also faced persistent problems like poverty, crime and environmental pollution, and had to come to terms with scientific ideas such as geologic time, evolution, and entropy that unsettled received ideas about the status of life itself.

The Victorian era saw the rise of what we would think of as popular culture, especially in the form of numerous magazines, newspapers, and paperbacks that made literature available to a newly literate mass audience in previously unknown ways. This was due both to the mechanization of paper-production and printing, and (especially later in the century) to widespread literacy due to compulsory education. These shifts dramatically altered the status of literature, which became less the province of a few well-educated elites and more widely integrated into everyday life.

In this course, we will explore literature’s role as both participant in and record of the radical social, technological, and ecological changes that rocked Victorian Britain and the world. We will consider literature as an art form, a technology, and a cultural institution. We will trace the ways in which it participated in debates about the changing relations between humans and nature in the period, including ideas of progress, evolution, race, empire, gender, sexuality, and the status of animals and machines. We will also think about what it means to read these texts not in their age but in our own, and look to the ways in which the afterlives of the Age of Victoria continue to emerge.

Readings:
The following editions will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore. You are welcome to use other editions of the novels, provided they are unabridged. Additional readings, including poems and excerpts of Victorian nonfiction prose, will be made available on the course Canvas site.

Charles Dickens. Great Expectations. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199219766
George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199536764
Rudyard Kipling. Kim. Oxford. ISBN: 9780199536467

Additional readings will drawn from the works of authors such as: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Lyell, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, John Ruskin, Alice Meynell, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walter Pater, and William Morris.

Catalog Description: 
Examines literary works from Victorian Britain and its empire (1837-1901), paired with contemporary social, scientific, and historical developments such as industrialization; urbanization; child labor; imperial expansion; scientific ideas of evolution and geologic time; changing ideas of gender/sexuality; mass education and mass literacy; and the popularization of print media.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:20am