A multi-genre course that explores the array of creative works that examine the Victorian period through poetry, non-fiction prose, fiction, art and material culture.
ENGL 341: Victorian Literature and Culture
Instructor: Logan Browning
We will explore some of the preoccupations and controversies of the Victorian era in Britain (1837-1901) through a study of three key literary texts (Dickens’s Oliver Twist [1837-38], Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam , and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest ) along with a variety of verbal and visual texts drawn from a wide range of sources. These associated texts will include journalism, history, caricature, advertising, book and magazine illustration, and political speeches. Topics for reading and discussion will include Victorian ideas about the city, social organization, gender and sexuality, public health, empire (especially including Anglo-Indian relations), technological change (particularly the coming of the railways), and evolutionary science. The writing for the class will require both research and critical thinking with the goal of illuminating connections among our key and associated texts in order to enhance our understanding of Victorian Culture.
The semester will conclude with a staging by the class of Wilde’s play. Students are encouraged to purchase Norton Critical editions of the three key texts. The associated texts will be available either online or in a course pack. This course is approved for Group 1 Distribution (D1).