Studies in Victorian Literature: Empire and its Discontents
Mary Ellis Gibson, office 115 McIver
Phone: 334.4690. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: 1-2 MW and by appointment
Goals and objectives: The broadest purpose of this course is to introduce you to new ways of understanding the connections among literature, culture and politics. Along the way, we’ll look at some significant texts in the recent development of colonial and post-colonial studies and we’ll read canonical and less well-known British texts from the nineteenth century. We’ll think about theory, literature, pedagogy, and political life, their connections and the tensions among them. And I’ll ask you to learn through writing, through teaching (in presentations and in planning teaching), and through a lot of talk. By the end of the course you should have read some of the significant writers of the period (including some on the comps list) and some significant recent historical and literary / cultural theory. And I hope that each of you will find the appropriate sort of writing to meet your own aims—working toward an article, an conference presentation, preparation for teaching, or other aims of your own.
Jan. 12 introduction, reading images of empire
Jan. 19 Edward Said, Orientalism, pp. pp. 1-110 (on reserve under Siddiqi); Macaulay “Minute on Indian Education” (reserve 645) and selected poems (reserve 645)
Jan. 26 Fitzgerald, The Rubayait of Omar Khayam
Feb. 2 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes, 1-106; read Landon, “It Was a King in Africa”; Barrett Browning, “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim Point” and “The Cry of the Children” (Landon and E. B. Browning on reserve); R. Browning, “Caliban upon Setebos” (Norton)
Feb. 9 Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, chapters tba
Feb. 16 Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness, pp. 1-198; Tennyson, “Morte D’Arthur (“The Epic,”) “Locksley Hall,” “Locksley Hall Sixty Years After,” (all in Norton); one of English idylls (on reserve)
Feb. 23 no class
Mar. 1 spring vacation
Mar. 8 finish Brantlinger; Jane Eyre (Book I)
Mar. 15 finish Jane Eyre,; Gayatri Spivak “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism” (on reserve)
Mar. 22 Ruskin, “Of Queens’s Gardens” (on reserve) and “The Nature of Gothic” from the Stones of Venice, vol 2. 1843 (in Norton); Chapters 1 and 2 The Nation and its Fragments (chapters 6 and 7 on reserve under Gibson)
Mar. 29 Balibar, “The Nation Form” on reserve along with brief selections from Hall, Anderson and Guha (on reserve under Siddiqi); Letitia Landon, selected poems (on reserve 645)
Apr. 5 C. Rossetti, all poems in Norton Anthology, plus handouts
Kipling, selected poems (handout)
Apr. 12 Rudyard Kipling, Kim
Apr. 19 Film: Angels and Insects
Apr. 26 Conference with Yumna Siddiqi’s class, dinner, presentations of papers
Class attendance and participation go without saying, I hope. Poor attendance and lack of preparation will lower your final grade by one half or one whole letter grade. I hate even to say this on a seminar syllabus, but…
1. A short paper, using a theoretical text to interpret a Victorian literary text of your choice. This may be based on your reading for class or go beyond it (for example, if you wish to use a novel we haven’t read or other poems by poets whom we consider). Due Feb. 23 (ideally no more than 5 pages on ordinary type). (15%)
2. A class presentation, addressing a work to be considered by the class, bringing additional reading to bear on the topic and developing questions to guide discussion. A handout with useful bibliography and quotations / questions to guide discussion is required, as is a conference and/or email exchange with me before your presentation. (15%)
3. A seminar paper and presentation of your paper in our conference on April 26. Paper due, April 26. (50%)
4. A final exercise which may take the following forms: a conference paper proposal; a course syllabus with a brief narrative integrating materials from this course with materials you might teach; an brief essay outlining what to you are the salient themes or threads through the reading and noting which texts have been more important to you (for better or worse) and why; an outline for teaching one of the texts we have read with discussion of the audience to whom you might teach it and in what context. Feel free to suggest other possibilities as well. Due April 19 (or earlier at your discretion). (20%)
Much reserve reading under Siddiqi, English 651 and Gibson, English 645.
I am assuming you have a Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2. If not, a good anthology will do, or you may borrow, share, or find readings in the library. I will give you directions.
Fitzgerald, Edward. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam
Kipling, Rudyard. Kim
Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism.
Brantlinger, Patrick. Rule of Darkness.
Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes.