ENG 329: Victorian Literature


Dr. Federico 3 credits





          The literature in this course will explore Victorian engagements with subjectivity–identity, consciousness, emotion, selfhood, personality–with a slight focus on childhood and stories of self-development.

          Up front, we’ll be asking: What does it mean to be “an individual” (and a subject to Queen Victoria) in a modern liberal democracy, with its prevailing ideologies of success, sexuality, family, love, gender, education, & religion?

          Another important goal of the course will be to explore how these works from the nineteenth century lend themselves to later approaches to subjectivity: Freudian ideas about the unconscious or “repressed” parts of the self; the interplay of cognition and emotion in our explanations about who we are and why we do what we do; our quests for an “authentic” (or differently imagined) self and for relationships that bring the self to flourishing; theories about the meaning of personality; the idea of personal character in our ethical engagements; and the role of childhood, memory, dreams, and family influences on the person we become.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1848)
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860)
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (1865)
Walter Pater,“The Child in the House” (1878)
Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (1895)
Edmund Gosse, Father and Son (1907)

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