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Nineteenth Century British Literature South Hall 2523

Fall 2013 Office: M 1 to 2 pm and by appointment

Lecture in Broida 1610

TAs: MJ Davis, Baron Haber, Sarah Higginbotham , Bethany Wong

This course reads major literary works of the nineteenth century in Britain to consider how literature contributes to social, interpersonal, and psychic reform. The course reads literary texts and texts defining the power of literature in the context of protest movements of the nineteenth century. Throughout, its focus is on how poetry and poetic modes of being affect the experience and achievement of freedom.


The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume 2 A and B

2A: The Romantics and their Contemporaries (Fifth Edition)

2B: The Victorian Age (Fourth Edition)

1. Two papers, a 3-4 page paper due on October 14, a 4-6 page paper due on November 22.

2. In-class midterm on Wednesday October 30.

3. Comprehensive final exam on Tuesday December 10, from noon to 3 pm

4. Attendance and participation in discussion section (see TA for specific requirements).

Romantic Circles (, especially “Scholarly Resources” and “Pedagogies”

The Romantic Chronology (

The Victorian Web (

Victorian Britain (

The first paper and the midterm each counts for 15% of your grade. The second paper counts for 25% and the final counts for 30%. Attendance and participation in section count for 15% of your grade. More than two unexcused absences in section will affect your grade for the course. Papers are due in lecture on the day stated. Late papers will be graded down ½ grade for every day that they are late, unless prior arrangements have been made. This professor does not tolerate plagiarism on papers or cheating on exams and will refer all cases to the Student Conduct Committee. If you do either, you automatically will be dropped from the class.


Note: Texts listed in brackets are suggested supplemental readings for those of you who want to engage more intensively with the material. Your papers can focus also on these texts.

09/27 Introduction: Protest and Reform: “We want change”?

Literature and the Age: “Nought was Lasting,” pp. 7-8
ROMANTIC ERA (1780s to 1830s)

09/30 Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!

The French Revolution and its Reverberations, pp. 14-9

Thomas Paine, from The Rights of Man, pp. 131-7

William Godwin, from Enquiry concerning Political Justice, p. 144-8

Arthur Young, from Travels in France, pp. 160-5

10/02 The Have Nots

Anna Letitia Barbauld, “To Be Poor,” pp. 69-70

Robert Burns, “Is there for Honest Poverty,” p. 404

Charlotte Smith, “The Dead Beggar,” pp. 90-1

[William Wordsworth, “Poor Susan,” p. 450]
10/04 Child Labor

Industrial England and “Never-Resting Labour,” pp. 21-5

William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper” (both versions), pp. 181, 194

William Blake, “London,” p. 199

[Charles Lamb, from The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers, pp. 187-9]
10/07 Slavery

The Abolition of Slavery and the Slave Trade, pp. 229-30

Olaudah Equiano, from The Interesting Narrative, pp. 230-9

Robert Southey, from “Poems Concerning the Slave Trade,” pp. 268-9

[Mary Prince, from The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, pp. 240-3]
10/09 Environmental Justice

William Wordsworth, “Nutting,” pp. 450-2

John Clare, “The Mores,” pp. 971-2

[John Clare, “The Lament of Swordy Well,” pp. 965-9]

10/11 Rise of the Under Class

P. B. Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy, pp. 879-88

10/14 Subordination of Women

Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, pp. 302-26

[Responses by Barbauld, Yearsley, Southey, Blake, pp. 326-9]


10/16 New-Born

William Blake, “Infant Joy,” p. 185

Anna Letitia Barbauld, “To a Little Invisible Being,” p. 68

Joanna Baillie, “A Mother to her Waking Infant,” p. 385
10/18 Experimentation

William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads, pp. 433-6

William Wordsworth, “Anecdote for Fathers,” p. 415

William Wordsworth, “We are Seven,” p. 416

[William Wordsworth, “Expostulation and Reply,” “Tables Turned,” pp. 426-7]

10/21 The World of Dream

Guest Lecturer: MJ Davis

S. T. Coleridge, on imagination, p. 689, p. 700 (first paragraph)

S. T. Coleridge, Philosophic Definitions of a Poem and Poetry, p. 691

S. T. Coleridge, Kubla Khan (preface and poem), pp. 669-71

[S. T. Coleridge, Christabel, pp. 652-67]
10/23 Dream On

John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes, pp. 988-99

John Keats, “La Belle Dame Sans Mercy,” pp. 1001-2

[John Keats, “La belle dame sans merci” (letter text), p. 997-9]

10/25 Sexual Nature

Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto One, pp. 786-833

[Robert Burns, “The Fornicator. A New Song,” pp. 406-7]

10/28 Poet Legislators

P. B. Shelley, from A Defence of Poetry, pp. 920-3, 929-30

P. B. Shelley, “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” pp. 875-6

P. B. Shelley, “Ozymandias,” p. 877

VICTORIAN ERA (1837-1901)

11/01 The Industrial Catastrophe, pp. 1057-9

Friedrich Engels, from The Condition of the Working Class in England, pp. 1101-7

Thomas Carlyle, “The Condition of England,” pp. 1076-78,

“Liberty to Die by Starvation,” pp. 1081-2

Henry Mayhew, “The Watercress Girl,” p. 1108

11/04 Which London?

Matthew Arnold, “East London,” p. 1578

Matthew Arnold, “West London,” p. 1579

Charles Dickens, from A Walk in a Workhouse, pp.. 1425-9

[Richard Le Gallienne, “A Ballad of London,” pp. 1907-8]

11/06 War

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” pp. 1235-6

Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach,” p. 1562

[Anthony Hecht, “Dover Bitch,” p. 1563]
11/08 Empire-Building

Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Minute on Indian Education,” pp. 1754-7

Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden,” pp. 1777-78

Rudyard, Kipling, “Gunga Din,” Pp. 1742-3

[Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point,” pp. 1148-55]
11/11 Veterans Day HOLIDAY
11/13 Commodification of Women

Robert Browning, “Porphyria’s Lover,” p. 1325

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Jenny, pp. 1622-32

[Augusta Webster, from A Castaway, pp. 1633-41]

11/15 Objectification: Beauty, Art, Woman

Guest Lecturer: Baron Haber

Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess,” pp. 1328-9

Christina Rossetti, “In an Artist’s Studio,” p. 1647

[Florence Nightingale, from Cassandra, pp. 1511-9]


11/18 Re-imagining Childhood (from the web archive)

Charles Darwin, from A Biographical Sketch of an Infant

Thomas Miller, “The Watercress Seller”

Robert Louis Stevenson, from A Child’s Garden of Verses
11/20 Boys will be Boys

Thomas Hughes, from Tom Brown’s School Days, pp. 1540-2

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses,” pp. 1189-90

[Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Lotos Eaters,” pp. 1185-8]

11/22 Girls Spending and Withholding

Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market, pp. 1650-62

Christina Rossetti, “Winter: My Secret,” p. 1649

11/25 Unsocialized: The Woman Writer

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, Book One, pp. 1155-61

11/27 Guest Lecturer: Bethany Wong

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, Book Two, pp. 1162-70; Book Five, pp.

11/29 Thanksgiving HOLIDAY
12/02 Poetry as Anti-Depressant

J. S. Mill, “A Crisis in my Mental History. One Stage Onward,” pp. 1132-7

Matthew Arnold, “The Study of Poetry,” pp. 1604-10
12/04 Supernatural

Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur,” p. 1702

Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty,” p. 1704

John Ruskin, “The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century,” 1505-10

12/06 Review
Final Exam: Tuesday, December 10 from noon to 3 pm

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