English 252 - Fall, 2020

Victorian Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Miller, Elizabeth
CRN: 53283
Time: W 3:10-6:00
Breadth: Later British
Focus: Genre, Interdiscipline, Method


    Energy, Environment, and Victorian Literature

    This course will approach Victorian literature through the lens of the energy humanities and the environmental humanities, considering the forms and genres of nineteenth-century fiction in terms of the rise of fossil-fueled modernity. The Industrial Revolution, which happened first in coal-rich Britain, has long been seen as a turning point in environmental history. This course will revisit Victorian literature from the perspective of contemporary environmental crisis to ask what environmental thought can gain by looking to literature, especially to literature from the moment when energy path dependencies were still hardening into the global system of fossil capitalism that we inhabit today. Situating ourselves in the broader field of literature and the environment, we will read a variety of realist and speculative genres of fiction including provincial realism, the industrial novel, science fiction, hollow earth fiction, and the urban Gothic novel.


    Class presentation, participation in discussion, seminar paper.


    Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
    Hard Times, Charles Dickens
    The Coming Race, Edward Bulwer-Lytton
    News from Nowhere, William Morris
    "The Machine Stops", E. M. Forster
    The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells
    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
    The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot