Pearson Hall 120
In this senior seminar we will probe the Victorian novel's obsession with social discipline. Tracing the struggles between the individual and society that the age's stories embraced, we shall pay special attention to some spectacular Victorian courtroom trials, new methods of punishment, the establishment of the police, and the legalization of divorce and of married women's right to own property. More than a few orphans and criminals will command our attention, as will other characters who scout the changing borders of identity and public institutions. Victorian authors we will study include Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, and Thomas Hardy. Alongside of these authors we may read some modern literary criticism and theory. Course requirements are lively class participation, two 6-page papers, individual writing conferences, and a final research paper. "Victorian Fiction" is a seminar, and you are particularly encouraged to help shape and enliven our class with your own ideas, contributions, and outside reading and research.