« Back to course listings

WRLIT-304

The novel, a particular form of narrative literature, boomed in the nineteenth century. Growing middle classes, rising literacy, new printing technologies and mass distribution of books all enabled the complex ascendancy of the American and European novel. Additionally, many novels appeared as serial installments published in magazines, which is how many readers first received the works of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, and many other now canonical writers. In this seminar, we will read a variety of European and North American nineteenth-century novels while attending to the historical contexts in which they were created. This will help us better understand the relationships between this literature and important cultural issues and movements such as the rise of the metropolis, revolutionary politics, national identities, individualism, psychology, and industry. We will also examine the structure of these novels with special attention to character, dialogue, narrative strategies, setting, voice, manners, and values. Authors may include: Balzac, Mary Shelly, Goethe, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev, Flaubert, George Eliot, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Di Lampedusa, Dickens, James, Trollope, Twain, Hardy, Wharton.