Course Description: English 334 Spring 2017 Professor Butwin
English Novel: Later 19th Century
The giants of English fiction in the second half of the 19th Century are George Eliot—pen name of Mary Ann Evans—and Thomas Hardy. We will focus on two of their masterpieces: Eliot’s Middlemarch (1873) and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (1895), along with background material including John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869) which inform and justify the fascination with non-conformity on the part of both of our authors. Perhaps because both lacked the classical University education of the time and stood outside the narrow confines of power, Eliot and Hardy are all the more free and likely to engage what was new thinking in the period including access to education for working-class men and for women of all classes; the advent of new technologies and the survival of old, artisanal skills; a revolution in medicine and the imminence of a sexual and political revolution. Biographical material along with a look at contemporary journalism and visual arts will enlarge our understanding of these remarkable novels. Lecture, discussion, short essays.
George Eliot, Middlemarch, Penguin Classics (ed. R. Ashton) ISBN 978 0 14 143954 9
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, Penguin Classics (ed. D. Taylor), ISBN 978 0 14 043538 2
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and other writings, (ed. S. Collini), Cambridge University Press, paper, ISBN 9780521379175