English 5005 Home and Abroad: Victorian Literary Geographies (1837-1901)
Section 001 CRN 95790
Home and Abroad: Victorian Literary Geographies (1837-1901) 1900-2130 T
In the dominant literary genre of the nineteenth-century, the novel, we find a range of paradoxes. On the one hand, the novel espouses domesticity; on the other, it also embraced an empire that circled the globe. Nineteenth-century Britain, itself, was the home of great the cosmopolis, London, and it also prized its rural landscapes and its country estates. This course examines these spatial binaries of public and private, country and city, metropole and empire, that is, home and abroad, as they are represented in some of the greatest as well as less remembered works of the Victorian era. Rather than reinforcing a simple binary view, this course seeks to find imperial issues in domestic fiction, and the symbolism of hearth and home in the most exotic locales and plots. Subthemes include the creation (or at least development) of genres such as detective fiction and adventure “shockers.” The course emphasizes a new historicist approach (that is, how do these literary works relate to and impact era in which they were created) and it also suggests that the ways Victorian novels inform our present age. Assignments will include discussion leading; a midterm; short writing assignments and a final research-based presentation and paper. Texts will include: Black, Jeremy and MacRaild, Donald, Nineteenth-Century Britain; Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, Aurora Leigh (1856); Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield (1850); Gaskell, Elizabeth, Mary Barton (1848); Doyle, Arthur Conan, The Sign of Four (1890), Collins, Wilkie, The Woman in White (1863); Haggard, H. Rider, King Solomon’s Mines (1888), The First Female Detectives (1864).