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Fantasy in Victorian Fiction
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll
In this course, we will engage with critical reading, thinking, and writing skills by investigating a selection of Victorian literature. The nineteenth century was a time of profound and swift change, manifested in greater educational opportunities, industrialization, and new scientific discoveries. With the rise of mass literacy and print culture, the status of literature changed permanently. Reading became a practice of everyday life, a form of entertainment. The sensation of getting lost in a book was as familiar to Victorians as it is to us today. What are the functions of fantasy then and now? How do fantastical stories provide ways for writers and readers to question, understand, and critique their society? We will study authors including Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
This course fills the University of Washington's “W” Writing Credit. Assignments include reading responses, group presentations, a midterm paper, and a final paper.