Department of English

University of Toronto

4000 Series Course Descriptions

Romanticism and Mobility
A. Bewell

Course Description:
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries underwent an enormous transformation as a result of the mobilization of people, places, words, and things. This course will examine how writers of the Romantic period responded to this new world in motion. Attention will be given to recent theoretical work on mobilities, with attention given to concerns such as travel, trade, empire, globalization, modernity, migration, tourism, translation, communication, and print culture.

Course Reading List:
Writers discussed will include Coleridge, Wordsworth, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, Clare, De Quincey, and Mary Prince.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Research Paper (40%), In-class Presentation (20%), Book Review (20%), Blackboard Participation (10%), Class Participation (10%)

Term: F-Term (Fall or First Term: September - December 2017)
Date/Time:  Fridays, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, 3 hours
Location:  Room
JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2017-2018 Graduate Course Timetable.


Brontë and Dickens 
D. Wright

Course Description:
In this course, we will read Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens as contemporaries and interlocutors, two novelists who between them explored divergent (and often resonant) possibilities for the realist novel at the moment it was ascending, sometimes haltingly and unevenly, to its position as the preeminent literary genre of Victorian culture in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Brontë’s short career will prompt us to pursue a synchronic method, zeroing in on a period of only six years, from Jane Eyre in 1847 to Villette in 1853, and to experiment with the kind of perspective, and the kinds of interpretation, such a short timespan enables. Because of our limited historical scope, our secondary readings will help us to attend most closely to questions of novelistic form (point of view, plot, consciousness, seriality, sympathy, etc.).

Course Reading List:
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre (1847), Shirley (1849), Villette (1853)
Charles Dickens: Dombey and Son (1846-8), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1853)
Theory and criticism to be selected from among pieces by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Mary Poovey, Franco Morretti, D.A. Miller, Audrey Jaffe, John Kucich, Hilary Schor, Nicholas Dames, Rachel Ablow, Andrew Miller, Sharon Marcus, Suzanne Keen, Amanda Anderson, Caroline Levine.

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Presentation (15%); Weekly response papers (15%); Seminar paper (including proposal) (50%); Participation (20%).

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2018)
Date/Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 am - 11:00 am, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2017-2018 Graduate Course Timetable.


Class and the Victorian Novel
A. Jaffe  

Course Description:
Class is inscribed in every aspect of Victorian fiction: in the bodies, manners, clothing and speech of characters; in forms of narration; in the depiction of place and construction of plot; in the representation of authorship and marketing of novels. We will explore the representation and construction of class in general and the representation of specific class identities in a series of Victorian novels, considering as well recent historical and theoretical accounts of the meaning and construction of the class idea. Topics may include: the transition to class society; class and realism; class consciousness and affect; the character system and the class system.

Course Reading List:
Primary works by Dickens, Trollope, Gaskell, Hardy, and others; secondary works by Marx, Thompson. Bourdieu, McCabe, and others.

Course Method of Evaluation and Requirements:
Presentation (25%); participation (20%); paper (55%).

Term: F-Term (Fall or First Term: September - December 2017)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 614 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2017-2018 Graduate Course Timetable.


Aging and Older Age in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel
A Charise

Course Description:
This course focuses on age, and older age especially, as an analytical category of particular significance to the nineteenth-century British novel. From juvenescent protagonists to marriage plots to the Bildungsroman, nineteenth-century writing typically posits youth as its default subject and perspective. However, in response to major upheavals in medical, philosophical, and economic understandings of human aging, nineteenth-century British literature also contributed important strategies for representing what old age was—or what it might be—in the context of longer lifespans lived not only by individuals but by populations as well. We will explore how prominent British writers employed the imaginative resources of literature to shape, witness, and represent “the invention of the elderly subject” (to use Karen Chase’s recent formulation). With reference to genres including the gothic, realism, and science fiction, we will pay close attention to the ways in which aging and older age complicate or even confound traditional plots of growth and development—for individuals, societies, and the long literary (after)lives of authors themselves. Although our readings will focus on texts of the British nineteenth century, this course is also intended to serve as a more general introduction to the emergent field of age studies.

Course Reading List:
Literary texts will include Godwin, St Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century; Shelley, Matilda; Austen, Persuasion; Gaskell, Cranford; Eliot, Theophrastus Such; Trollope, The Warden, The Fixed Period; Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Shaw, Mrs Warren’s Profession; Wells, The Time Machine. With additional selections from: Rousseau, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Malthus; poetry by Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Landor, Arnold. Theoretical texts will include selections from: Ottaway, The Decline of Life; Cole, The Journey of Life; Beer, Darwin’s Plots; Small, The Long Life; Looser, Women Writers and Old Age in Great Britain, 1750-1850; Woodward, Figuring Age; Edelman, No Future; Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination; Ricoeur, Time and Narrative; Dames, The Physiology of the Novel; Cohen, Embodied.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Includes brief seminar presentation (methodological/theoretical) (20%), participation (10%), in-class conference paper and response (20%), final research paper (50%).

Term: S-Term (Spring or Second Term: January - April 2018)
Date/Time: Mondays, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2017-2018 Graduate Course Timetable.
Return to main Graduate Courses page.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus