Nineteenth-Century Novel

Ann Rea, Nineteenth-Century Novel, Spring 2014

Course Description:

It would not be an exaggeration to say that among the books we will read this semester are some of the most important novels that have been written in English. The Victorian period was when novels gained huge popularity, and many women began to write fiction – sometimes under men’s names – and novels began to have a profound influence on the culture. This worked in several ways, in that some writers like Elizabeth Gaskell wrote about social problems which, they believed, resulted from the fast pace of change that their country had undergone, and these novels drew the general public’s awareness to those problems. But at the same time fiction influenced how the public thought about less tangible concepts, so, for example, people’s ideas about individuality underwent a huge influence as a result of the focus on individual characters in novels. Some of this fiction depicted the effects of the industrial revolution when people began to work in factories and live in fast-growing cities. Later Thomas Hardy would write about the changes taking place in rural areas when the countryside went through economic difficulties and people who had previously worked on the land moved to towns.

Required Texts:

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, (1847) Signet

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, (1847) Norton

Elizabeth Gaskell, Ruth (Penguin) 1853

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860) Broadview

Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd, (1874) Modern Library

Subscribe to RSS - Nineteenth-Century Novel