English 101-07: Dickinson College, Spring 2016
Evil alter-egos, soul-sucking vampires, and detective thrillers—all have their roots in the literature of the nineteenth-century. From Dorian Grey to Dracula and the Hound of the Baskervilles, the sensational literature of the Victorian era sought to stimulate the mind and awaken emotion. This course will examine how monsters, mad scientists, and secret identities rose in the public imagination alongside of a rapidly-changing nation. The nineteenth century saw unprecedented growth of industry and leaps in scientific discovery; new and rapid global communication as well as transport; tenuous relationship of commodities, consumers, and economic stability; as well as changing conceptions of class, gender, and what it meant to be an individual.
This course is intended to be an introduction to Victorian literature in a variety of genres, including poetry, the novel, and non-fiction prose by authors such as Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.