|Semester and Year||SP 2012|
|Time||3:30 PM - 6:10 PM|
The realist novel is often considered to have reached its peak in England in the Victorian era. How and why did that happen? To what extent did the society shape the novel? To what extent did the novel reflect or represent the society? For that matter, what is realism, really? Is the realist novel entertainment or art? Does it play a moral role? Can it change society? How does material production influence the novel? We ask these questions through the lenses of four inter-related issues of the period: the conflict between a “mechanical” and a “romantic” philosophy; the increasing wealth of the middle class and the pauperization of the new working class; the “Woman Question,” involving the first large-scale agitation for equal rights for women; and the “imperial adventure” that brought a fourth of the world’s territory under British rule. We read four novels: Dickens’s Hard Times , Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton , George Eliot’s Adam Bede, and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim ; essays by “sages” John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, and George Eliot; postcolonial criticism by Edward Said; and theories of the novel by Mikhail Bakhtin, F.R. Leavis, Raymond Williams, and Virginia Woolf.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)