English 155B - Spring, 2022

19th Century British Novel

Class Information

Instructor: Tinonga-Valle, Jennifer
CRN: 62159
Time: MWF 11:00-11:50
Location: 146 Olson
GE Areas: World Cultures Writing Experience


To take this course is to engage with monsters. Throughout the quarter, you will take on the intricate and often lengthy nineteenth-century novels famously (and disparagingly) referred to as 'large, loose, baggy monsters' by Henry James. By working our way through four texts that offer a distinctive and representative view of this genre, we will track the development of the novel in Britain during the nineteenth century. Alongside tracing the twists and turns of the genre itself, we will consider the changes in publication, readership, and status of the novel, which shaped the consumption and reception of this type of text.

We will read novels by nineteenth-century writers, including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Oscar Wilde, whose work offers us both a glimpse into the social and cultural world of their time and remains well-known and widely-read today. Our exploration of their novels will consider topics including: family and identity, education and class, inheritance and labor, Empire and domesticity, marriage and gender, morality and mental health, criminality and detection, and illustration and seriality. We will conclude our class by exploring the afterlives of these rich and varied nineteenth-century texts in the 20th- and 21st -century imagination.


Reading Journal/Homework, Classwork, Short Paper, Long Paper, Final Exam


Persuasion, Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens