Upcoming Classes


Spring 2015

English 549: Victorian/Edwardian Literature.  Professor Dennis Barbour | Tuesday 5:00-7:50

Victorian—prim, proper, prudent . . . and, prudish. The word carries a negative connotation, perhaps based on the image of the Queen who oversaw the country during this time period. So, why study this seemingly repressed, stuffy era?

In fact, concerning this stereotype, nothing can be further than the truth. The Victorian Period is one of the most dynamic periods of English history and literature. During this time, Great Britain was the world power. Their prideful saying was that “the sun never sets on the British Empire,” since it had flags flying all over the world—India, Australia, Canada.

In the social realm, the Victorians rolled up their sleeves and tackled some of the most persistent and pernicious social evils stemming from the Industrial Revolution—poverty, unfair labor practices, slums, addiction, lack of education. The word that applies best to their efforts is “earnest.” From this period, the heroes of reform were people such as Thomas Arnold and John Henry, Cardinal Newman, in education; Gladstone and Disraeli in political and economic reform; William Morris and Charles Dickens in championing better working conditions; George Eliot (Marianne Evans) in women’s rights; the military heroes, the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Nelson, who won great victories; arbiters of cultural taste in John Ruskin and Walter Pater; influential philosophical and scientific writings in Mill, Macaulay, and Darwin.

In the literary world, the English novel came to full fruition, the essay became a prominent vehicle for furthering important ideas, and poetry achieved a high level of achievement. In the Edwardian Age after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, energy flagged as the world transitioned to the Modern Age. The writing of the time reflects a tiring and disillusionment from the constant energy and effort characterized in the Victorian Age.

Authors we will read in this class include: Charles Dickens, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Charles Algernon Swinburne, Dante Gabriel and Christina Rosetti, William Morris, John Henry, Cardinal Newman, John Ruskin, and Walter Pater. Completing this class will give you a new image of the Victorian Period and an important component of literary history as well as a more complete view of our contemporary world.

English 60200: Literary Theory.  Professor Mita Choudhury | Thursday 5:00-7:50

This course invites graduate students to think about why we consider ourselves to be postmodern or post human. And if we identify ourselves as postmodern, do not have to define and redefine our identity and experience in relation to (or in opposition to) that which preceded it, modernity?  View more details. . .