Special Topics in Victorian Literature


This course reads two sets of Victorian texts: 1) Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Collins’s The Moonstone and Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds. 2) Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, George Meredith’s Modern Love and Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins. The first set of texts lets us think about sensation fiction and realism, in relation to marriage and empire, the second set lets us think about fantastic and romance modes of addressing similar issues, as well the plot of adultery. We’ll also be reading material from recent debates on reading and historicism in Victorian Studies.

Depending on your individual needs and goals, you’ll choose one of two writing options: A) two separate 10-page conference papers, the first due before midsemester, the second at the end. You’ll write abstracts for these papers before the full papers are due, and you’ll revise the first conference paper or B) one 10-page conference paper due before midsemester, to be expanded into a 20-page article that will be revised at least once by the end of the course.

Advanced undergraduates who are interested in learning how to write longer research papers—either because they think they might want to apply to graduate school, or because they want some independent research experience before they write distinction essays—are welcome in this class. They should understand that the reading load is heavy: there are no short Victorian novels.

Satisfies the Area II requirement for English majors. One course / 3 units.

Curriculum Codes: 

R, W