Department of English

University of Toronto

4000 Series 2010-11


Although this is not quite a single-author course, the works of one writer--Charles Darwin--will take up most of our time and attention. Rather than investigate, say, Darwin's influence on the novel, we will attend to the logic and rhetoric of his major works in evolutionary theory. This will involve us in current debates within cultural studies of science; it will also provide an occasion for sustained consideration of what literary modes of analysis can bring to science studies--and what studying Victorian scientific texts can contribute to our understanding of nineteenth-century British culture and its ways of knowing and narrating.

Assignments: participation (15%), short textual analysis (10%), seminar presentation and report (15%), formal final paper proposal (10%), and a final research paper (50%).

Readings to include Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and Autobiography; Alfred Russel Wallace's Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection; T. H. Huxley's Evolution and Ethics; critical, historical, and theoretical work by Gillian Beer, John Durant, Martin Fichman, Stephen Jay Gould, Elizabeth Grosz, Sandra Herbert, Robert J. Richards, Martin J. S. Rudwick, George Stocking, and others.

Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room 718,  Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


The city in the Romantic period was the site of new forms of experience. This course will examine canonical and noncanonical Romantic poetry, prose, drama, and painting in the context of two of these forms: consumption and spectacle. From the metropolis of London and provincial cities such as Bristol and Liverpool to the imperial “City of Palaces,” Calcutta, the early British empire produced modern commodity culture as well as novel ways and technologies of seeing, in particular the proto-cinematic panorama and diorama. We will read a wide range of works engaged in representing the city and responding to its commercial and spectacular lives, by Burney, Godwin, Edgeworth, Wordsworth, Brunton, Lamb, De Quincey, Hazlitt, Keats, and Byron, along with Anglo-Indian and Eurasian writers such as James Atkinson, Henry Derozio, Henry Meredith Parker, and David Lester Richardson. Our primary sources will be supplemented by recent criticism (Butler, Barrell, Klancher, Chandler and Gilmartin, etc.) along with targeted historical and theoretical readings on modernity, metropolitanism, and cosmopolitanism by Raymond Williams, Roy Porter, Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Georg Simmel, and others.


Research paper (50%, 20 pp.), abstract and bibliography (10%), mini-conference presentation (20%, 15 minutes followed by q & a), class participation (20%).

Readily available editions supplemented by .pdf files of primary and secondary readings on the course portal.

Wednesday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Room 718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street

4881HF  **New Course Code** ("Methods" Course:  enrolment priority to students in the M.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing programs, although doctoral students will also be able to register)

This course will provide a grounding in theories of narrative and novelistic discourse crucial to discussions of novelistic realism, while considering the inseparability of narrative structures from the ideological issues--about character, discipline, materiality, visuality, reading, and cultural representation--that inform critical debates. Though Victorian realism is not wholly synonymous with the works of George Eliot, for our purposes Eliot will be--as she indeed is--exemplary. We will focus on earlier and later versions of Eliot's realism, specifically Adam Bede and Middlemarch, and will bring examples of "silly novels," sensation fiction, and Hardy's anti-realism to bear on the question of the construction of realism as a genre.


Active participation, including presentation (40%); final essay (60%).

Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret; Eliot, Adam Bede and Middlemarch; Hardy, Jude the Obscure. Secondary material will be available via library reserve, blackboard, and xeroxes when necessary. I will be using the Oxford editions, ordered from the Bob Miller Book Room, 180 Bloor Street West.

*Tuesday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  *NOTE TIME CHANGE
*  Room 617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street  *LOCATION CHANGE

Studies in Victorian Poetry (Ballads & Romances)

The nineteenth century was an intensive period of ballad collection and production, bracketed by the landmark collections of Bishop Percy (1765) and Frances James Child (1898) and complemented by the revival of interest in traditional verse romance. New editions and translations of medieval romances appeared alongside modern retellings. In approaching two of the most popular forms of Victorian narrative poetry, we must necessarily consider matters both formal and historical. In the first half of the course, ballad collecting and the romance revival provide the context for the study of the literary imitations they inspired; in the third segment of the course, we will consider the survival of a tradition of popular and broadside balladry in poems that deal with contemporary subject matter; and in the final segment of the course, we will consider how three poet-novelists drew upon the ballad tradition to develop distinctive forms of prose narrative. Authors to be considered include: poets Scott, Baillie, Coleridge, Keats, Percy Shelley, Byron, Macaulay, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Tennyson, Morris, Meredith, D. G. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, Kipling, among many others; and novelist-poets Emily Brontë, George MacDonald, and Thomas Hardy.


Evaluation: weekly participation (20%), seminar presentation and short paper (analytical description of a collection of ballads or romances, 5-8 pages) (30%), and a final research paper (50%).

Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street

Top of Page

Return to Graduate Courses page.

   Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street

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