L1. Victorian England: the age and the spirit of the age [26.02]
The political and social background of Victorian England. The Industrial Revolution and aftermath. Queen Victoria and the Royal Family. Scientific discoveries, economic progress and prosperity: the Great Exhibition of 1851; real access to culture and education: public system of instruction, publication of cheap editions, serialization, lending libraries; the modern newspaper. Inadequacy, poverty, unemployment and social unrest: the Hungry Forties, the system of warehouses, the People’s Charter. The cultural background and the spirit of the age. Formative theories: Utilitarianism and Darwinism. The crisis of belief. The tendencies of the age: discipline, reason and balance, and restlessness, divergence and renovation. The fin-de-siècle spirit.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (5-8). Radu, Perceptions (5-14). Ford (59-119). Baugh (1279-86, 1448-54). Galea (9-53).
L2. The industrial / condition of England novel [5.03]
Industrial Revolution and industrial culture. The industrial novel and the representation of industrial landscapes, class and social content (Ch. Dickens: Hard Times, Ch. Brontë: Shirley, E. Gaskell: North and South, B. Disraeli: Sybil). Charles Dickens: Critical realism and entertainment, the comedy of life; Hard Times: Industrial revolution and Utilitarianism, the novel of ‘hard facts men’; Mrs Gradgrind and the principles of Utilitarian education: methodology and effects, industrialism and ecology, Coketown as dystopic representation of the city. Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South as a novel of challenges and conflicts.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (26-8). Radu, Perceptions (141-157). Allen (159-74). Galea (7388). Ford (135-7). Daiches (1049-59). Ingham (78-101). Brantlinger and Tessing (336-352). Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life.
L3. The regional / provincial novel [12.03]
The representation of local communities and social networks in non-urban England: George Eliot (‘The Mill on the Floss’ and ‘Middlemarch’), George Eliot (‘Cranford’). G. Eliot: Middlemarch: provincialism and microcosm of English life in the pre-industrial age; omniscience, multiplot structure and gallery of characters; feminism, female assertion and the woman’s condition, Dorothea Brooke’s case: intellect vs. passion; Tertius Lydgate and the intellectual tension; The Mill on the Floss: lights and shadows of brotherly love, passion vs. social conventions. Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford: ruralism and portrait of garrulous local community.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (89-90). Radu, Perceptions (194-207). Allen (230-4). Galea (142-163). Daiches (1066-72). Ford (276-293). Showalter (100-132). Brantlinger and Thesing (318-335).
L4. The human comedy [19.03]
W.M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair: the fair, puppets and the show-master and the Bakhtinian concept of carnival and the ‘grotesque body’, typology of characters, the portrait of the upstart, games of love and vanity, matrimony, inheritance and marital triangles: Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley vs. Rawdon Crawley and George Osborne, Cpt. Dobbin, the odd man out; the novel ‘without a hero’. Dickens and Thackeray and perspectives of character treatment. Charles Dickens: The Pickwick Papers quixotic adventures and comic representation of typologies.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (50-1). Radu, Perceptions (157-169). Allen (174-82). Galea (89106). Ford (147-53). Daiches (1059-64).
L5. The gender debate [26.03]
The position of the woman and the need for emancipation and equality. Female and feminine attitudes: the woman as writer and character. The evolution of the cultural feminine identity (cf. Showalter): the feminine, feminist and the female stages). Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre: romantic imagery and the Gothic inserts; the home as repressive space: the motif of the red room, the recurrent sequence of enclosure and escape, Lowood School and Thornfield Hall as dominant habitats; the complex of the ‘madwoman in the attic’, Jane’s initiatic life and experience towards assertion of her own female self; constructs of masculinity and femininity: Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (59-60). Radu, Perceptions (169-175). Allen (180-90), Galea (114126), Daiches (1064-6), Ford (256-8). David (97-124). Gilbet and Gubar (3-106 and 336-71). Showalter (3-72 and 100-32). Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Brontë.
L6. The tempest in the soul [2.04]
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights: the tempest in the soul, setting and cosmic order, condition of man and new cosmogony. The Gondal heroes revisited: Catherine and Heathcliff – a story of destructive love and passion, Heathcliff and the drama of the misfit. The Gondal space: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange: home or dwellings; the setting as atemporal and nondimensional space; the threshold and the window as archetypes of crossing-over; the after-life space. Gothic paradigms. Narrative technique: effects of using narrators.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (71). Radu, Perceptions (175-183). Allen (194-8). Galea (128-141). Daiches (1064-6), Ford (260-73).
L7. The condition of man [9.04]
The anti-Victorian reaction: beyond mechanicist and materialist standards. Thomas Hardy: destiny and the tragic condition of man, Greek drama and the principle of fate and predestination; unity of space: Wessex, space and nature as correlative of the human mind and condition. Tess of the d’Urbervilles: destiny and tragedy of human flaws. Tess, a ‘pure woman’ (?). Jude the Obscure and the conflict between flesh and spirit, instinct and civilisation.
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (171-3). Radu, Perceptions (211-223). Galea (180-201), Daiches (1073-82), Ford (406-19), Baugh (1464-74).
L8. The aesthetic debate [16.04]
The doctrine of aestheticism: Walter Pater and his hedonistic thinking – the anti-reaction to Utilitarianism and moral art; ‘art for art’ sake; the autonomy of aesthetic standards from morality, utility, or pleasure. Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray: the Preface as the author’s aphoristic manifesto about art, artists, critics, and audience and the importance of beauty in the context of the Aesthetic movement; the characters of Lord Henry and Basil and their impact on Dorian; Dorian, the human vs. the painting – significances and its eventual destruction; homoerotic attitudes; the Gothic romance; the aesthetic vs. the moral debate; Dorian’s story and the Faustian pact.
Critical bibliography: Baugh (ed.) (vol. IV, 1479-82). Daiches (vol. IV, 1103-4). Ford (ed.) (vol. VI, 385‑405). Raby (34-56, 187-192, 209-214).
L9. Off the mainstream: Victorian sensation fiction [23.04]
Sensation (detective / mystery) fiction as fiction beyond the canon (?), as alternative form of entertainment to satisfy the public need for the out-of-the-ordinary, gothic, sensational, able exploits of detectives, roguish deeds of villains and criminals, or presence of supernatural entities. The case of the penny dreadfuls as underground literature. William Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White – archetypal features of modern detective fiction and ground rules for the genre; Laura as an ideal of Victorian womanhood vs. her double, Anne Catherick; Marian and Fosco as real (?) protagonists of the story; the themes of respectability and social class. Wilkie Collins’s narrative method, credibility of the story and characters, ways of creating suspense and cliff-hangers. Charles Dickens: Great Expectations – the theme of social class; the novel’s moral code: the feelings of guilt and shame, Pip’s personal improvement project and his ‘great expectations’; images of imprisonment, revenge as motivating factor for positive and negative behaviours; the role of place, the characters of Joe Gargery, Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch; the novel structure: Pip as character and narrator and the use of the alternative ending.
Critical bibliography: Paroissien (422-432). Gregor (32-50). Brantlinger and Tessing (260-278). David (169-211). Wynne (38-59, 83-97), Rance (95-100, 104-105). T.S. Eliot in Bloom (307-314).
L10. Late romanticism and neo-classicism [7.05]
Romanticism vs. reason, discipline and balance. Matthew Arnold: neo-classicism and the poetry of meditation (‘Dover Beach’). Alfred Tennyson: the disciplined and rational romantic; existential dilemmas, the condition of the poet, activism vs. retreat (‘The Palace of Art’ and ‘The Lady of Shalott’); existence vs. life, commitment vs. withdrawal (‘The Lotos Eaters’ and ‘Ulysses’); the heroic expectation and the Victorian mould; the English idyll (Idylls of the King: ‘The Passing of Arthur’); the significance of life and death (In Memoriam and ‘Crossing the Bar’).
Critical bibliography: Ford (227-44), Daiches (995-1002), Baugh (1382-91), Macsiniuc (103-24, 49-73), Radu, Palace of Art (151, 119), Radu, Perceptions (52-70, 88-93).
L11. The dramatic monologue [14.05]
The dominance of the dramatic monologue as Victorian form; types of dramatic monologue (with / without an interlocutor); the search for objectivity. Robert Browning: holy orders and worldly vanities (‘Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister’ and ‘The Bishop Orders Hid Tomb’); the dimensions of the artist (‘Frà Lippo Lippi’ and ‘Andrea del Sarto’); gendered attitude and the condition of the woman (‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’); verisimilitude and the challenge of the multiple point of view (The Ring and the Book).
Critical bibliography: Pearsall in Bristow (67-88), Ford (245-55), Daiches (1002-7), Macsiniuc (75-100), Radu, Palace of Art (135-6).
L12. The Pre-Raphaelite Movement and the prosodic renovation [21.05]
Divergence and renovation; the need for rejuvenation and Romanticism reloaded. John Ruskin as theoretical forerunner: mannerism vs. natural world and representation, greatness in art (Modern Painters). The Pre-Raphaelite Movement and the re-discovery of early medievalism. The search for detail, colour and form in painting and poetry. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, sensuality and tone (The House of Life: ‘Nuptial Sleep’), painting and poetry (‘The Blessed Damozel’). Gerard Manley Hopkins: Religious dogma, God and power, the rediscovery of form and new prosodic techniques: ‘inscape’, ‘instress’ and ‘sprung rhythm’; the re-moulding of the language, obscurity and distorted syntax; the avatars of the Messiah (‘The Starlight Night’, ‘The Windhover’); existential dilemmas and the condition of the cleric (‘Carrion Comfort’).
Critical bibliography: Alkalay-Gut in Bristow (228-254). Baugh (1422-3, 1421-6). Ford (87-93, 352-70, 353-74, 90-3). Macsiniuc (125-47). Radu, Palace of Art (12-13, 163-4). Radu, Perceptions (96-104). Slinn in Bristow (46-66). Scheinberg in Bristow (159-79). Daiches (1042-8), Macsiniuc (151-68). Radu, Palace of Art (193-5). Radu, Perceptions (115-130).
L13. The frame of mind: Victorian non-fiction [28.05]
Thomas Carlyle: the lesson of history and the epic in prose, didacticism vs. docudrama, vitality of presentation and cinematic technique (The French Revolution), the credit of authority and leadership, the hero as divinely appointed Messiah, avatars of the hero (On Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History). Matthew Arnold: the condition of the critic, education and the goals of poetry (‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time’ and ‘The Study of Poetry’), society and awareness, the role of culture and education (Culture and Anarchy). John Ruskin: mannerism vs. natural world and representation, greatness in art (Modern Painters), morality and the idea of moral art, return to Nature and natural forms, visionary ecologism (The Stones of Venice and The Seven Lamps of Architecture).
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (9-10, 16, 21, 151), Radu Perceptions (16-47), Ford (59-119, 294-308, 309-23), Baugh (1279‑86, 1309-21, 1412-54), (Galea (9-53).
L14. Victorian literature at the crossroads between tradition and modernity. Neo-Victorian fiction [4.06]
The Victorian novel and the great tradition in modern British fiction. The contemporary cultural fascination with the Victorians. Historical specificity. Association of the contemporary context and the context of Victorian historical and literary narratives. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea. Peter Ackroyd, The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde. John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
2.2 Seminars (Workshops)
S1. The mechanics of Victorian literature [5.03] [TS1]
The Victorian literary canon. The literature of the age as meeting ground for traditionalism and modernism. The novel as the dominant Victorian literary genre: realism, social criticism, chronological construction of the plot, serialisation, modes of representation. Forms of Victorian novels (cf. Bakhtin): the monologic (Dickens, Eliot, Hardy) and dialogic (Thackeray – partially, E. Brontë) form. The alternative ending (Dickens). Narrative techniques: omniscience (Ch. Dickens, W. M. Thackeray: Vanity Fair), Ch. Brontë: Shirley, G. Eliot), 1st person narration and the pseudo-autobiography (Ch. Brontë: Jane Eyre), effects of using narrators (E. Brontë), the combined technique: 1st person and 3rd person narration (Ch. Dickens: Bleak House), omniscience and narrators (Ch. Brontë: Shirley). Ch. Brontë’s and W. M. Thackeray’s omniscience and implied readers. The self-reflexive text (Thackeray). Types and characteristics of the Victorian novel. Directions in Victorian poetry: restraint of mind and obedience of form, poetry and Utilitarianism, marginalisation and elitism, continuators and innovators, the problem of content and form, Victorian genres: the idyll and the dramatic monologue (Tennyson and Browning).
Critical bibliography: Radu, Palace of Art (10-15). Radu, Perceptions (48-52, 136-141). Shires in David (6176), Flint in David (17-36). Fraser in Bristow (114-36). Pearsall in Bristow (67-88). Macsiniuc (27-48).
S2. The Industrial novel: Hard Times and North and South [19.03] [TS3]
- Charles Dickens: Hard Times – Condition of England novel: representations of the Industrial revolution and Utilitarianism, industrialism and ecology, Coketown as dystopic representation of the industrial city.
- Chares Dickens: Hard Times – Mr Gradgrind and the principles of Utilitarian education, education, school and family (Mr Gradgrind, Tom and Louisa).
- Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South – aftermath of Industrial Revolution and representation of the rural South and industrial North, aristocracy vs. working class, the novel of social critique.
- Elizabeth Gaskell: North and South – relevance, representation and evolvement of the characters Mr Thornton and Elizabeth Hale in the context of the relationship among themselves and with the rest of the community.
S3. Human spaces and social typologies: Middlemarch and Vanity Fair [2.04] [TS4], [TS5]
- George Eliot: Middlemarch – ruralism and microcosm of English life in the pre-industrial age, Middlemarch as provincial town and social network
- George Eliot: Middlemarch – structure, disposition and gallery of characters (Dorothea Brooke and Mr Casaubon’s case: intellect vs. passion; Tertius Lydgate and Rosamond Vincy: family and intellectual tension).
- Optional: English provincialism between local charm and substance: Elizabeth Gaskell,
- M. Thackeray: Vanity Fair – the novel and the fair: puppets and the show-master, the concept of carnival and the ‘grotesque body’; the novel ‘without a hero’.
- M. Thackeray: Vanity Fair – typology of characters and the moral debate, vanities and marital triangles (Rebecca, Amelia, Rawdon Crawley, George Osborne and Captain Dobbin).
S4. The Brontë World: Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights [16.04] [TS6], [TS7]
- Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre – autobiographic Bildungsroman, feminine emancipation, the conflict between Passion and Reason (Jane and Mr Rochester).
- Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre – the motif of the Red Room and the multiple representations of the place (Lowood School and Thornfield Hall).
- Emily Brontë: ‘Remembrance’: voice, characters and locale, precursor of Wuthering Heights; Wuthering Heights as continuator – the Gondal heroes revisited: Catherine and Heathcliff – a story of destructive love and passion, Heathcliff and the drama of the misfit.
- Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights: – narrative technique; Mr Lockwood and Nelly Dean: acting characters and character narrators.
- Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights – setting and cosmic order, the Gondal space: setting as atemporal and nondimensional space, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
S5. Existence and life: Tess of the d’Urbervilles and The Picture of Dorian Gray [7.05] [TS8], [TS9]
- Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d’Urbervilles – destiny and the condition of man, the principle of fate and predestination; unity of space: Wessex as space of ill-omened nature.
- Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d’Urbervilles – destiny and tragedy of human flaws. Tess, a ‘pure woman’ (?), Alec vs. Angel and the moral debate.
- Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde: hedonistic thinking – the anti-reaction to Utilitarianism and moral art; ‘art for art’ sake; the autonomy of aesthetic standards from morality, utility, or pleasure, the concept of beauty and the Aesthetic movement.
- Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray – Lord Henry and Basil vs. Dorian Gray; Dorian, the human vs. the painting – significances and eventual destruction, Dorian’s story and the Faustian pact, homoerotic attitudes.
S6. The Sensation Novel: Great Expectations and The Woman in White [21.05] [TS10]
- Charles Dickens: Great Expectations – Bildungsroman: representation of growing-up and maturation, evolvement from rags to riches.
- Charles Dickens: Great Expectations – typology of characters, parable of the good and the bad (Pip, Miss Havisham, Estella, Joe Gargery, Abel Magwitch)
- William Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White: the purpose of this novel, its uniqueness and the reason why the story is told in this fashion?
- William Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White: character study and the time period of the story, the characters of privilege and the working class.
- William Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White: means of achieving suspense and enticing the reader.
- Optional: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the (prototype?) detective Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
S7. The aesthetics of Victorian poetry [4.06] [TS11-14]
- Alfred Tennyson: the condition of the poet, activism vs. retreat (‘The Palace of Art’ and ‘The Lady of Shalott’); existence vs. life, commitment vs. withdrawal (‘The Lotos Eaters’ and ‘Ulysses’).
- Alfred Tennyson – In Memoriam: Prologue, XXII (‘The path by which we twain did go’); ‘Crossing the Bar’.
- Robert Browning – the dramatic monologue with an interlocutor – ‘My Last Duchess’.
- Robert Browning – the dramatic monologue without an interlocutor – ‘Porphyria’s Lover’.
- D.G. Rossetti – sensuality and tone (The House of Life: ‘Nuptial Sleep’), painting and poetry (‘The Blessed Damozel’).
- G.M. Hopkins: ‘The Starlight Night’ – theme, form and prosodic techniques.