English 155B - Fall, 2017

19th Century British Novel

Class Information

Instructor: Martel, Michael
CRN: 62659
Time: MWF 2:10-3:00
Location: 118 Olson


    This course surveys the major genres and formal developments of the nineteenth-century British novel from the national tale to the imperial romance with stops in the regional, realist, sensation, and gothic novel along the way. We will consider the relationships between realism and sensationalism, narrative form and modes of publication, characterization and dramatic adaptation. To experience how the Victorians’ initially encountered many novels, we will read Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations serially over the quarter. The goal of this course is, in large part, to grapple with the fullest possible range of the nineteenth-century novel’s generic, formal, and media diversity. To that end, we will eschew the “large, loose, baggy monsters” long-characterizing the Victorian novel’s reputation in favor of a kaleidoscopic survey of shorter works. Further, we will consider the various ways nineteenth-century readers engaged with the novel – serial publication, theatrical adaptations, knock-off editions, dramatic readings, visual illustrations, and literary tourism.


    Castle Rackrent, Edgeworth
    Northanger Abbey, Austen
    Great Expectations, Dickens
    Lady Audley’s Secret , Braddon
    Under the Greenwood Tree , Hardy
    Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Stevenson