19th-C British Literature

English 333 Nineteenth Century Literature in English (not American) MWF 9:30-10:20

Craig Howes

Nineteenth Century writing is a highlight in Great Britain’s literary and cultural history. The century begins with arguably its finest cluster of major poets—Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, P. B. Shelley, Keats—and the century’s prose fiction achievements are just as impressive—Austen, Scott, Mary Shelley, Dickens, Thackeray, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Trollope, and Hardy, just to mention the traditional high points. It is also a period of remarkable intellectual prose—de Quincey, Carlyle, Macaulay, Martineau, Mayhew, Darwin, Ruskin, Pater, and Wilde are among the most prominent producers. And I haven’t even mentioned Tennyson, Browning, Barrett Browning, the Rossettis, and a host of other distinguished poets of the later decades.

In short, there is too much to cover, so we will take samplings from the major clusters of writers. We will read chronologically, but also organize the material by certain themes that obsessed the writers of the period—the relationship between art and science, the costs and benefits of empire, the condition of women question, and the social consequences of rapid industrialization and urbanization. We will also read three novels, including Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, one of the “baggy monster” landmarks.

Sources of evaluation will be attendance and class participation, a series of content tests, regular weekly postings in preparation for reading, memorization assignments, prose and poetry imitations, two short papers, and a substantial final paper or research project, involving a class presentation. Individual instructor/student conferences on all submitted assignments will be mandatory.

As of right now, the course will be taught online synchronously.


Abrams et. al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature—The Romantic Period. 10th Edition

Abrams et. al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature—The Victorian Age. 10th Edition

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Charles Dickens, Bleak House