Department of English

University of Toronto

4000-Level Course Descriptions

ENG4212HS
Romanticism and Catastrophe
 
K. Weisman

The Romantic period witnessed many remarkable challenges to received ideas about the aesthetic, and about the function and meaning of literature. Situated within the cauldron of rapid change in industry, science, economics, transportation and social structure, and further defined by the challenges of urbanization, ecological disaster, revolutionary activity, and war, the early nineteenth century presents a unique opportunity to study the representation of catastrophe in poetry and fiction. Catastrophe may be defined not only politically, but also socially, aesthetically and existentially, with each category often exerting pressure on the others, indeed often inextricably linked. What are the mechanisms of, and challenges to, the representation of such experience in the Romantic period?

In this course we will study poetry* that represents catastrophe or responds to catastrophe, with “catastrophe” defined broadly. We will read such texts as P.B. Shelley, Prometheus Unbound and “The Triumph of Life” and other lyrics; S.T. Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and other lyrics; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and The Last Man; Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and other poems; Anna Barbauld, “Eighteen Hundred and Eleven” and other lyrics; Grace Aguilar, selected poems; Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater.

Course Requirements
*In addition to poetry, we will also study fictional and non-fictional prose.

Reading List: 
Texts will include (but will not be limited to) P.B. Shelley, Prometheus Unbound and “The Triumph of Life” and other lyrics; S.T. Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and other lyrics; Mary Shelley, The Last Man; Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and other poems; Anna Barbauld, “Eighteen Hundred and Eleven” and other lyrics; Grace Aguilar, selected poems; Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater and The English Mail Coach.
 
Method of Evaluation:
Seminar and seminar write-up 30% ; Orally delivered book report 10%; Participation 10%; Final term paper 50%.

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Wednesday, 3:00pm - 5:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

 
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ENG4262HF 
Realism and the Sociological Impulse
A. Jaffe
[Methods Course: Studies in Narrative]

This course will think through two crucial representations of social life in public that emerge in the nineteenth century: the realist novel and the discipline of sociology. We will consider the closeness of novelistic and sociological impulses in terms of the way some of their practitioners approach such issues as typicality; the relation between the individual and the aggregate; the representation of intimacy, attention (or inattention) to others; the performance of self; the idea of the stranger. Why (and how) does sociology turn to narrative? Why (and how) does the novel turn, and sometimes seem to turn into, sociology?

Course Requirements
Reading List:
Final list TBA. Readings will include work by Goffman, Simmel, Durkheim, Bourdieu, Latour, R. Williams and others. Novels will include Middlemarch, as well as work by Dickens and Hardy.

Method of Evaluation:
Seminar participation, 20%; seminar presentation, 20%; paper, 60%.

Term: F-Term (September - December 2014)
Date/Time: Monday, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

 
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ENG4266HS
Redemptive Realism: The Victorian Novel

D. Wright

Redemption is a problem in Victorian realism—a structure of plot and character that recurs again and again in the novels of the period—but it has also been a persistent problem in the history of our theorization of the realist novel. Can the fictional world of realism “redeem” an actual world imagined as fragmented, disenchanted, or otherwise deformed? Should our critical practice expose the ideological insidiousness of the novel, or should we instead cultivate the critical possibilities of redemption and reparation? Are exposure and redemption compatible practices?

In this course, we’ll link these two parallel registers of the problem of redemption: the redemption plots of the Victorian novel on the one hand, and the redemption plots of theory and criticism on the other hand. In doing so, we’ll try to orient ourselves within a diverse academic field—the study of the Victorian novel—by tracking the way that a single concept proliferates across methodological approaches, and also within our very object of study. A central question of the course will be: to what extent do our critical impasses mirror the impasses that are already there in our objects of analysis? Our reading will consist of several Victorian novels of redemption (and some that we might call anti-redemptive) paired with a selection of theory and criticism, both old and new, that take a variety of approaches to the questions of guilt, shame, redemption, and reparation.

Course Requirements
Reading List:
Novels (subject to change): Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Dombey and Son; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh; George Eliot, Silas Marner; Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent; Ian McEwan, Atonement. Theory and criticism to be selected from the following: Henry James; George Eliot; Sigmund Freud; Georg Lukács; Roland Barthes; Mikhail Bakhtin; Leo Bersani; Stanley Cavell; D. A. Miller; Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; Lauren Berlant; Lee Edelman; Andrew Miller; Amanda Anderson; Sharon Marcus; David Kurnick; and Heather Love.

Method of Evaluation:
"Methodologies" position paper, 3-5 pp (15%) Mini conference paper (15%) Research paper, article length (50%) Participation (20%)

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 9:00am - 11:00am, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street) 
 
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