Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG455H1F L0101

ENG455H1F   L0101   W11-1
Advanced Studies Group 5: Catholic Writers at the Fin de Siecle: Wilde, Meynell and Chesterton
Instructor: Prof. M. Knight

Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, 631
Email: mark.knight@utoronto.ca


Brief Description of Course: Roman Catholicism became increasingly influential during the final years of the nineteenth century and the opening years of the twentieth century, an emergence made all the more prominent by the previous suspicion of British Protestantism towards Catholicism. This course will focus on three important fin de siècle Catholic authors, who explored the relationship between belief and literature in a multitude of ways. We start with perhaps the best-known and most controversial Catholic writer of the late-nineteenth century, Oscar Wilde, before turning to the equally brilliant essayist and poet, Alice Meynell. Our final author is G. K. Chesterton, in many ways the most theologically orthodox of these writers but someone whose sparkling style and inexhaustible imagination gave rise to a rich set of writings.

Required Reading: Works by Oscar Wilde (including Salome, The Ballad of Reading Gaol and De Profundis), Alice Meynell (selected essays and poems), and G. K. Chesterton (including The Man Who was Thursday, Napoleon of Notting Hill, Orthodoxy, and The Innocence of Father Brown). A final reading list will be sent to Bob Miller Book Room in the summer.

First Three Authors/Texts: Texts by Oscar Wilde.

Method of Evaluation: Research proposal and annotated bibliography; informed participation; research essay.

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