19th-C British Literature

Race, Class, and Gender in 19th-Century British Lit

This course introduces you to the diverse literatures and social issues of nineteenth-century British literature and culture. Through reading a wide selection of genres (poetry, non-fiction essays, autobiography, and novels), we will discuss how issues of race, class, gender, and empire were represented in nineteenth-century British culture. As such, we will pay special attention to how literary form affects content and vice-versa, especially in terms of the novel’s politics and social critiques. We will read a diversity of novel genres in the Victorian period, including the industrial novel, the sensation novel, and the adventure novel. In order to enrich our understanding of the novels’ themes and larger ideologies, we will also critically examine a few different film versions of our novels. We will end the semester by examining how the issues we’ve discussed are still relevant today.

Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831)

Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848)

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)

Ridger Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines (1885)

Other readings available on Laulima


Class participation:  15%

Reading and class notes journal: 20%

3 Short Writing Assignments:  45% (15% each)

Final Presentation and analysis  20%