19th Century Literature in English (Except American)

Race, Class, and Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Literature and Culture:

This course gives students an overview of nineteenth-century British literature and culture. Thematically, we will discuss issues of race, empire, slavery, marriage, madness, gender, class, and income inequality as they appeared in the Romantic and Victorian eras. We will read a diverse selection of genres – poetry, non-fiction essays, autobiography, and novels – and pay special attention to how form affects content and vice-versa, especially in terms of the novel’s politics and social critiques. Students will be introduced to a diversity of novel genres in the Victorian period, including the industrial novel, the realist novel, the sensation novel, and the adventure novel. Students will also practice reading scholarly secondary sources and incorporating them with their own writing. As this is a writing intensive course, we will develop our skills in academic writing in the discipline of English through a series of smaller writing assignments and exercises. Students will then write a final research paper at the end of the semester. To further highlight the relevance of the 19th century to the 21st century, students will be required to keep up with news headlines, and once throughout the semester will write a short analysis and give a brief presentation on a connection between a contemporary issue and the nineteenth century.

Required Texts:

Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince

Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines

Course Reader for purchase. Includes secondary readings by William Blake, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Friedrich Engels, Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, Coventry Patmore, Sarah Stickney Ellis, Sarah Grand, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Macaulay and others.


Regular attendance

Class participation

Reading Quizzes

4 Short Writing Assignments

Final Paper

Short presentation and writing on contemporary relevance