Office hrs:
Wed. 1-3 and Th 9-10
SS 111

This course will focus on the issue of social class in Victorian literature, and, in particular, in the novel. As the title suggests, though, this course will focus less on what "class" is and more on how "class" was imagined in the Victorian age by the mainly middle class writers who wrote about it. How did the Victorians imagine class differences? What impact did the Industrial Revolution have on the imagination of class? In what ways is the novel itself bound to a middle-class imaginary? How did middle class writers use the novel to articulate their emerging sense of their difference from the upper classes? How did the middle class articulate its own class identity through the representation of other classes, in particular, the representation of the rural and urban poor who played a large role in the middle class imaginary in the nineteenth century? These are some of the questions we will be addressing in this course. We will be reading a series of writers that span the century, from Austen, Disraeli, and Dickens among the early writers, through Eliot, Morrison, Hardy, and Conrad among the later Victorians. There will also be supplementary readings available through online reserve. Requirements include two shorter critical papers and one longer critical research paper. In addition, students are responsible for regular contributions to in-class discussion and for regular responses to online Webboard discussions.