Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG487H1S - L0101

ENG487H1S L0101  T1-3
The Novel and Everyday Life
Professor Audrey Jaffe
Office Telephone:
Office Address: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 910

Brief Description of Course:
How does one read everyday life? How does one write it? “Everyday life” might be said to refer to what Hegel called “the prose of the world”: the ordinary, the trivial, the minute details that escape attention without our efforts to notice and think about them. The everyday has long been the subject of a particular genre—the novel—for reasons we will explore in this class. Our topics of discussion will include: “nothing,” as in the quotations above; leisure, labor, and boredom; conversation and gossip; the ordinary or “common”; the institutions such as gender, class, age, status, and other forms of social markers that structure everyday life. We will also consider “everyday” concerns such as time; labor; objects; money; food; clothing; the nature of the “trivial”; the performance and texture of social life; the way large and seemingly distant events bear on seemingly smaller and nearer ones. Historical range from the Romantic period to the present.

Required Reading: Includes but not limited to: Highmore, ed., The Everyday Life Reader; Austen, Emma; Flaubert, Mme Bovary; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Kafka, The Metamorphosis; Baker, The Mezzanine.

First Three Authors/Texts: Austen, Flaubert, short fiction.

Method of Instruction: seminar

Method of Evaluation: Two essays, one group presentation and other classroom assignments, active participation.

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