ENGL 335 A: English Literature: The Age of Victoria

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
CDH 109
Joseph Butwin
Joseph Butwin

Syllabus Description:

English 335 WI 2018 TTh 1:30-3:20 CDH 109 Professor Butwin joeyb@uw.edu         

Padelford A-419 TTh 11-12:30 & appt


                                    The Victorian Age: Men, Women and Machinery

“A robot with bulky red arms set about pulling the petals from an artificial daisy.” That would be in a current lab at Brown University according to The New Yorker of 23 October 2017. In 1829 Thomas Carlyle would announce to his readers that “our old modes of exertion are all discredited and thrown aside.  On every hand, the living artisan is driven from his workshop, to make room for a speedier, inanimate one.  The shuttle drops from the fingers of the weaver, and falls into iron fingers that ply it faster.”  The notion that human workers might be displaced (and demoted) by machinery may be nothing new in 2018, but it was certainly news in 1829 when our study of what we now call the “first” Industrial Revolution begins. Contemporary witnesses would celebrate and condemn what they saw.  Acceptance, resistance, modification of machinery would define the 19th century response to modernity and determine much of what we call literature and the sister arts in the period. We will track that response through the writings of Adam Smith (Wealth of Ntions, 1776), Carlyle (“Signs of the Times”, 1829), Andrew Ure (Philsophy of Manufactures, 1835), John Ruskin (“The Nature of Gothic” 1853), Charles Dickens (Hard Times, 1854), Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles, 1891) and William Morris (News from Nowhere, 1890) as well as the art and architecture of the period.


Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Penguin Books, Penguin Classics, paper ISBN  978 0 141 43967 9

J S Mill (ed. Stefan Collini), On Liberty and other writings, Cambridge University Press, paper,  ISBN 9780521379175

Thomas Hardy Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Penguin Classics, paper ISBN 9780141439594

William Morris (ed. David Leopold), News from Nowhere, Oxford University Press, Oxford World Classics, paper, ISBN 9780199539192

Additional selections from Adam Smith, Andrew Ure, Mary Shelley, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Frederick Engels, John Ruskin, and Thomas Hardy and William Morris in CANVAS “Files”


Week One

Jan. 4  Rules of the Game

Week Two

Jan. 9 Androids, Automatons, Machines. Text: Shelly, Carlyle, Dickens (Canvas)

Jan. 11 Division of Labor, Multiplication of Labor. Adam Smith, Andrew Ure (Canvas)

Week Three

Jan. 16 Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854), Book the First, Sowing (9-108).

Jan. 18 Hard Times, Book the Second, Reaping (111-212).

Week Four

Jan. 23 Hard Times, Book the Third, Garnering (215-288).

Jan. 25  Karl Marx, from Capital (1867), Chapter 15, “Machinery and Modern Industry” (Canvas)

Week Five

Jan. 30 John Ruskin, from Stones of Venice (1853), “The Nature of Gothic” (Canvas)

Feb. 1 John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) [minus Chapter 5; read pp. 102-105 (from the paragraph beginning “it was pointed out in an early part of this Essay…” (bottom 102)  to “…stand forth openly as the champions of power” (top 105).

Week Six

Feb. 6 John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (1869) [minus Chapter 4; 205-207 from “It is often said that in the classes most exposed to temptation” (205)  to “which is becoming a marked charactereistic of modern times?” (207) AND top 210 (“I have considered , thus far…”) to bottom 211 (“strongest sympathy with an equal in rights and cultivation.” ; Charlotte Bronte, from Jane Eyre (1847), Chapter 12 (Canvas)

Feb. 8 NO CLASS Reading/Writing Time

Week Seven

Feb. 13 ESSAY DUE in class; Discussion.

Feb. 15 Art and the Industrial Revolution: depicted in class (and on Canvas). No reading—as you accelerate your reading of Hardy.

Week Eight

Feb. 20 Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Phase 1st (7-74)

Feb. 22 Tess, Phase 2nd & 3rd  (75-152)

Week Nine

Feb. 27 Tess, Phases 4th & 5th (153-303)


March 1 Tess, Phases 6th & 7th (305-398); Hardy, “The Dorsetshire Labourer” (“DL” in Canvas)


Week Ten

March 6 Morris, News from Nowhere (1891) Chapters 1-16 (3-88)

March 8 Morris, News from Nowhere, Chapters 17-32 (89-182)



March 13 FINAL ESSAY DUE 5 PM (delivered as e-mail attachments)


Rules of the Game: Do the reading on time; come to class; be ready to talk about the texts and to write about them. See Grading.

Grading: Grades will come in three categories: 1/3 for class participation. That means a readiness to chat in class. Readiness begins with reading the texts on time, paying attention to a short list of study questions and, of course, showing up. From time to time (and unannounced) I will ask you to write brief responses to current reading in class. I will read these but not attach individual grades. They will enter into my assessment of class participation. In-class writing cannot be made up. 1/3 each for two essays written outside class. See the Schedule.

Course Policies

Absence/Presence: University policy quite reasonably prevents fixing grades on absence or presence in the classroom. That’s reasonable because it is entirely possible to exist in the room without participating in the class. You have to do more than simply show up. It is also true that absence from the room automatically prevents participation.  And participation counts for 1/3 of your grade.

Disability Accommodation: To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 543-8924 (voice / TTY).  If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in this class.


Deadlines: See the policy above for written responses in class.  Outside essays turned in after the deadline will receive an automatic two tenths deduction (on a 4.0 scale).  They will lose a further two tenths off for each additional day late and will not be accepted more than a week late.  Any necessary extensions must be cleared with me in advance to avoid a penalty. 

Incompletes:  Incompletes will only be granted in truly exceptional cases, and only if you have been making substantial progress up until the last two weeks of the quarter. 

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a very serious kind of academic misconduct.  You should know what plagiarism is, and how to avoid it.  If you haven’t done so already, please read “Academic Honesty:  Cheating and Plagiarism,” a statement prepared by the Committee on Academic Conduct in the College of Arts and Sciences that can be found at http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm.  If after consulting this statement you still have any questions on the subject, please ask me. 






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)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 10:30pm