ENGL 334 A: English Novel: Later Nineteenth Century

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
* *
Henry Staten
Henry Staten

Syllabus Description:

English 334A--Spring 2021

The Late Victorian Novel 

In this course we will study four very important novels published in the second half of the 19th century in England: 

Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure 

George Meredith, The Egoist 

Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray 

George Eliot, Middlemarch 

These are long novels, so be prepared to spend a lot of time reading them.  We will be covering 200-240 pages per week, which comes out to about 30-35 pages per day, 70-80 pages per class.  A couple of them—The Egoist and Middlemarch—are difficult reading, so you should also be prepared to expend some extra sweat on the prose.  But these difficult novels are actually the best of the four; Middlemarch in particular is possibly the greatest novel written in English in the 19th century. (The author of Middlemarch, by the way, was actually a woman, Mary Anne Evans, who used the masculine pseudonym “George Eliot”).  In class lecture I will talk about the intellectual, cultural, and social conditions of late Victorian England that are relevant to understanding the novels in relation to their historical context. 

You will write three essays of 4-6 pages.  You will also have reading quizzes from time to time, to encourage you to keep up with the reading. 

Reading schedule:

(note: different editions of the novels will vary in page numbers, so these numbers are just approximate)


Week 1: March 29: pp. 1-70; March 31: 71-140; April 2: 140-210

Week 2: April 5: 211-280, Chs. 30-37; April 7: 281-350, Chs. 38-48; April 9: 351-420, Chs. 49-57.

Week 3: April 12: 421-490, Ch.s 58-65; April 14: Ch. 66-end; April 16: open

The Egoist:

Week 4: April 19: pp. 1-70; April 21: 71-140; April 23: 141-210

Week 5: April 26: pp. 211-280; April 28: 281-250; April 30: 351-420

Week 6: May 3: 421-490; May 5: 491-end; May 7: open

The Portrait of Dorian Gray:

Week 7: May 10: 1-50; May 12: 51-100; May 14: 101-150

Week 8: May 17: 151-end; May 19: begin Jude the Obscure: pp. 1-80; May 21, 81-150

Week 9: May 24: pp. 151-230; May 26: 231-310; May 28: 311-390

Week 10: May 31: no class; June 2: 391-470: June 4: 371-end


Catalog Description: 
Examines the high water mark of the realist novel, as well as its fragmentation into popular genres like science and detective fiction and the emergence of literary modernism. Possible authors include: George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Marie Corelli, Olive Schreiner, H.G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 14, 2021 - 5:40am