English 252 - Spring, 2018

Victorian Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Miller, Elizabeth
CRN: 81980
Time: R 12:10-3:00
Location: 120 Voorhies
Breadth: Later British
Focus: Genre, Interdiscipline, Method


    Buried Treasure: Extraction Ecologies and Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century

    This class will focus on ecology and extraction – the mining of underground resources – in the literature of the long nineteenth century, with primary texts ranging from buried treasure adventure stories to realist novels to documentary non-fiction focused on mining labor and extractive zones. Industrialized extraction was a central element of the environmental and economic history of the nineteenth century, and this class will strive to think broadly about the corresponding role of extraction in literature and literary form. While the majority of our primary texts will be British or American, we will also reach beyond the Anglo-American world to conceive of extraction in terms of frontier, empire, and global capitalism. Drawing on recent theories of extractivismo by scholars of historical and contemporary Latin America, we will consider how the imperial powers of Britain and the United States led the world into a new stage of environmental and economic history defined by industrial extraction and extraction capitalism. Secondary readings will include work by ecocritical, postcolonial, formalist, feminist, and Marxist critics such as Amitav Ghosh, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Andreas Malm, Jason Moore, Rob Nixon, Maristella Svampa, and Alex Woloch. We will also read work by Nathan Hensley, who will be visiting and participating in seminar on April 19th.


    Seminar paper, active participation in all seminar meetings, class presentation.


    Nostromo, Joseph Conrad
    Soldiers of Fortune, Richard Harding Davis
    King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard
    Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
    McTeague, Frank Norris
    The Road to Wigan Pier , George Orwell
    The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands , Mary Seacole
    Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson