Studies in Fiction

Prereq: none
3-0-9, HASS-H, CI-M

Close study of three substantial novels of the Victorian period (1837-1901) written by successors to Austen’s realist fiction about English life in the provinces. We will read: Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (1866); The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope (1867); and the incomparable Middlemarch by George Eliot* (1871-72), widely considered one of the greatest of all novels. These large works offer richly immersive fictional worlds, so we read only three so as to take our time with them. They feature situations that raise all manner of vital social questions about family, courtship and marriage, women’s ambition and scope for action, pride and honor, interpretation and rationalization, innovation and conservatism, old and new money, authority and power – many of which remain highly  ertinent today. The Victorian period may seem a long time ago, but as these novels show it was a time when society really began to cope with the consequences and  hallenges of becoming modern. (NOTE: you do NOT need to have taken a class on Jane Austen in order to take this one. You are welcome whether you have done so or not.) Work will include frequent short response papers, one or two brief oral reports, and a final creative project or critical essay. *George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans.