ENG 604: 13089
HST 598: 91781


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Oscar Wilde in costume as Salomé

Dan Bivona
Office: FOUND 1150
Office hours: Thursdays, 2-4 pm and by appointment
Phone: 480-965-8260

Rachel Fuchs
Office: Coor 4548
Email: rfuchs@asu.edu
Office hours: after class and Tuesday 3-5
Phone: 480-965-2429

Although the twentieth century has smugly labeled the nineteenth century as the age the age of repression, the Victorians in England and the moralists in France had, if anything, a culture-wide obsession with sex. The marital theme in Victorian fiction, the invention of the new field of "sexology," debates about gender roles and their relationship to biological "instincts," assertions linking poor women with “immoral sexuality,”  considerations of masculinity and femininity, speculations about sex in the afterlife or whether masturbation caused blindness or insanity, or the preoccupation with the nocturnal adventures of vampires and other unwholesome creatures: all these things indirectly testify to the fact that men and women in London and Paris found sex to be an endlessly fascinating -- if ofttimes indelicate -- topic.  In this course, we will cover this topic as broadly as possible in England and France (London and Paris)  within the constraints of a one-semester course. Our approach will be interdisciplinary. Readings will include passages from Freud and other Victorian sexologists, contemporary critical theory (Butler and Foucault), novels and poetry of the period, as well as historical documents and monographs.   Enrollment limited to graduate students from History English.

The first 4 papers should be 2-3 pages in length and should deal with the in-class topic. These should be submitted to the Digital Drop Box by Wednesday at 12 pm -- the day before our class meets. They will be made available on Blackboard for students in the class to read and run off copies for class on Thursday. The papers will be the main focus of discussion in class. Please use MLA Format or Chicago Manual of Style format for citations. A schedule of due dates for individuals in the class will be arranged on the first day of class. If you prefer to bring a laptop to class rather than run off copies for yourself you may do so.

The final paper should be 15-20 pages in length. It is due on the final day of class, May 3. Topics will be posted in the online syllabus later in the semester.

Weekly contributions to online class discussion: These are mandatory in this class. Everyone is required to pose at least 6 questions to the group online over the course of the 16-week term. In addition, every student is required to respond at least once per week to other students' or our questions. You will be graded both on the frequency of your contributions and on the quality of them. The best strategy is to post at least 2 or 3 thoughtful responses and/or questions per week. Please be sure to make them thoughtful, paragraph-long responses, not quick, two-word responses, and be sure to observe the conventions of civil online discourse (no flaming or personal remarks about other students in the class). Questions may deal with the previous week's reading or with the upcoming week's reading. You may ask questions or make responses that relate current material to material introduced earlier in the course, but please do not pose questions about a novel that the rest of the class will not have read for two more weeks. Questions and responses should be posted no later than midnight MST on Wednesday of each week to be counted for that week.

Author Title Edition

The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1

Butler Gender Trouble Routledge
Nye Sexuality Oxford
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray Bantam
Foucault Herculine Barbin Pantheon
Zola Nana Penguin
Wells The Island of Dr. Moreau Penguin

These books are currently available at the ASU Bookstore. All other readings are available either through online reserve or through direct links to open sites on the internet.

Week Topic Reading/Assignments
Jan. 18

Introduction to the course

Jan. 25 Is Sexuality the Kind of Thing that can have a History? Nye, "Introduction," pp. 1-15;
Nye, "Enlightenment and Revolution," pp. 67-83; Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. I
Feb. 1 Childhood Sexuality

J. Kincaid, "Introduction" to The Erotic Child (reserve);
"She-Noodles" from The Pearl (reserve);
Freud, "Infant Sexuality" from Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (reserve);
Nye, 253-264

Feb. 8 Hermaphroditism

Foucault, Herculine Barbin

Feb. 15 Degeneration

H .G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau;
from Jack London, People of the Abyss: Chapters 21-27 (Web)

Feb. 22 Masturbation and Degeneration Selections from Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis [1889] (reserve);
from J-J Rousseau's Confessions, Books I and IV;
Mason, (reserve: "Evangelicals and Sex" and "Free Thought versus Free Love");
Curing masturbation ("Circumcision Information")
Mar. 1 Homosexuality and Homoeroticism Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (1990);
Selections from Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis [1889] (reserve);
J. A. Symonds, A Problem in Modern Ethics (1891);
Mar. 8 Homosexuality and Homoeroticism Sheridan LeFanu, "Carmilla" (1873);
Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890);
Nye, 107-114;
Nye, 150-160
Mar. 22 Spring Break No class
Mar. 22 Homosexuality and Homoeroticism

Burton, "The Sotadic Zone" (1885);
Balzac, Girl with the Golden Eyes (reserve);
Zola, "Preface" on Inversions (reserve);
Nye, 115-193

Mar. 29 Instinct and Naturalism

Selections from Darwin, Origin of Species (1859) [Chaps. I, II, IV, Conclusion];
Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle [1919] (reserve)
Nye, 239-252; 265-276

Apr. 5 Instinct and Naturalism Zola, Nana (1880);
Pater, "Conclusion" to The Renaissance: A Study (1873) [reserve]
Apr. 12 Instinct and Naturalism Zola, Nana (1880) cont.
Apr. 19 Social Class and Reproductive Sexuality

Josephine Butler, "Social Purity" (1879) ;
Rev. Joseph Mearns, "The Bitter Cry of Outcast London" (1883);
N. Elias, "The Social Constraint toward Self-Constraint" (reserve);
Suzanne Volquise (reserve); Louise Abber (reserve); Medical Views (reserve)

Apr. 26 Social Class and Reproductive Sexuality

Nye, "The Triumph of Middle-Class Sexuality," 84-114; 196-204;
Fuchs, "Reproduction and Sexuality" (reserve);
Gay, "Pressures of Reality" (reserve);
Selections from Victorian Women (reserve)

May 3 Wrap-up  
N.B. Items marked as on reserve are available through the online reserve in Blackboard.