Eng 536: The Nineteenth-Century British Novel

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We will read a selection of novels representing different genres of the period, and we will discuss them in the context of selected poststructuralist and narratological theories. The readings are categorized as primary and supplementary, and I have paired these canonical and less-familiar texts in order both to give us a fresh perspective on the so-called "central" examples of the nineteenth-century British novel and to broaden the class's awareness of the variety of fiction in the period. Each student will read the five primary novels and two of the supplementary novels.

Primary readings:

Supplementary readings:

We will also read a selection of critical essays on each of the five primary novels. They are either included in the editions I ordered, or they will be placed on reserve in the library.


  1. Attendance, participation in class discussions, completion of readings and assignments on time. (10%)
  2. Weekly one-page, single-spaced response papers. Informal and ungraded, unless unsatisfactory. (15%)
  3. Weekly contributions to the electronic class discussion. By the second week of class, I hope to have on-line a "listserv" for the class. I will ask you to contribute each week one question/comment of your own about our readings and one response to another's posting. Your questions/comments might be drawn from your response papers. You will have to get an e-mail account for this assignment (10%)
  4. A 15-minute oral report on each of the two supplementary novels you have chosen. When more than one student chooses a novel, you will give a 30-minute group report to the class. (30%)
  5. A 15-18 page essay, both analytical and well-researched, reflecting engagement with one or more of the critical/theoretical approaches studied in the course. (35%)

Reading Schedule

15 January

22 January

29 January

5 February

Jane Eyre.

12 February

19 February

26 February

5 March

19 March

26 March

2 April

9 April

16 April

23 April

30 April

Brief oral report on research in progress.

Term paper due on the last day of finals week.