4000 Series Course Descriptions (Victorian and Romantic Literature)

Romanticism and Translation

A. Bewell

Course Description

This course seeks to introduce students to the theory and history of translation while examining the centrality of translation in its many dimensions in British Romantic literature.  Although some attention will be given to literary translation as it is narrowly defined, the primary focus of the course will be on seeing translation as a vital creative, cultural, political, economic, and interpretive activity in the age of empire.  

Course Texts

Brian Friel, Translations (Faber) 
Students should obtain a good anthology of Romantic poetry. 
Course texts are available at the University of Toronto Bookstore.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements

Method of Evaluation: Research essay (40%); Research Project Paper delivered at the class symposium (15%); Book Review (20%); In-Class Presentation (15%); participation (10%).

Research Paper:

One of the primary objectives of a graduate seminar is to provide an environment that promotes your being able to formulate and develop a project that will advance our understanding of Romantic literature and translation. The length of the paper should be approximately 4000 to 5000 words in length. It is due on December 9th.

Book Review:

This review should seek to provide a critical assessment of a book's contribution to the study mobility. Its length should be somewhere in the range of 1500 words. Book reviews seek to describe what a book is about, but the best ones rarely seek to summarize a book chapter by chapter. They also try to provide a context for understanding the critical importance of the book, while usually seeking to indicate what the reader might find valuable in the book along with any areas of weakness that it might have. For this review, assume that you are writing for another graduate student in the class, someone who already knows something about Romanticism and mobility, and who is wanting to know whether they should read the book you are reviewing.

N. B. Paper Assignments: All papers should be submitted by email through the Quercus website and are due by midnight of that day. Please submit them as Word documents, if at all possible. Late papers will be penalized 1% per day.

Class Presentation:

During the term, students are required to give an in-class presentation that provides a focus for discussion of one of the authors or texts we are reading that day. The goal of the talk should not be to summarize everything you can about the text or author, but to raise an issue or small number of issues that you feel are important and worth further discussion by the class. The presentation should be about 20 minutes in length.

In-Class Research Symposium:

The final class will be devoted to a research symposium in which students will be allotted fifteen minutes to present a paper on their research.

Class Participation:

A seminar only works if everyone in the seminar participates. Students should come to class having read the week's assigned materials and prepared to contribute their ideas and to respond to others' ideas.

N.B. All papers should be submitted by email through the Quercus website and are due by midnight of that day. Please submit them as Word documents, if at all possible. Late papers will be penalized 1% per day.

Term: F-TERM (September 2022 to December 2022)
Date/Time: Friday / 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Victorian Memory/Victorian Forgetting

A. Jaffe

Course Description

Taking a cue from Lewis Hyde's A Primer for Forgetting (2019); from the inseparability of remembering from forgetting; and from the importance of both to the period that brought us Freud, two opium wars, and numerous variations on the themes of nostalgia and amnesia, this class will explore the relation between remembering and forgetting in the Victorian novel and Victorian culture. We will discuss the role of technologies and institutions (photography; objects; the novel) in shaping the ways in which, and the kinds of things, the Victorians chose to remember and to forget. Topics may include, among others: repression and forgetfulness; false and/or recovered memory; screen memory; post-memory; cultural and individual remembering and forgetting.

Course Reading List

Dickens, David Copperfield; Bronte, Villette; Collins, The Moonstone; Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge; ; Barrie, Peter and Wendy. Additional readings by Freud, Carpenter, Gillian Beer, Nicholas Dames, and others.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements

Active participation: 20%
Seminar presentation: 20%
Final paper: 60%

Term: F-TERM (September 2022 to December 2022)
Date/Time: Tuesday / 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Romantic Pastoral Revisited

K. Weisman

Course Description

Pastoral has long been a subject close to the centre of studies of British Romanticism. It has been absorbed into all of the major theoretical debates: from linguistic theories studying it as a forum for textual displacement, to historicist readings of pastoral that study its mediations of history and commodity culture, and more recently to eco-criticisms that read pastoral in terms of the economy of ecological and global considerations. Pastoral, and the georgic pastoral, have always been indispensable value terms in our understanding of the period. And yet pastoral, for all of its vital importance, is a term that still causes confusion, or that is sometimes used as a casual synonym for “landscape.” This course will study the old subject of Romantic pastoral anew. We will study its variable definitions, the lively debates, both historical and contemporary, surrounding it, and the many crucial points of contact it makes with key issues in Romantic poetry. These include its inextricable relationship with elegy and other genres, and the central place played by pastoral in Romantic political, philosophical and social culture.

Course Texts

Selections will include the following: Theocritus (Idyll VIII, Idyll XX); Virgil (Eclogue IV, Eclogue VII); Milton, "Lycidas"; Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"
[Note: I will distribute handouts of the Theocritus and Virgil readings at the first class.]
William Wordsworth, "Michael." Also selections from Lyrical Ballads (including "Tintern Abbey," "The Solitary Reaper," "Lines Written in Early Spring," "We are Seven," The Last of the Flock," "Anecdote for Fathers," and other selections).
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais, "Alastor; or, the Spirit of Solitude"; other lyrics (including "Ode to the West Wind," Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," "Mont Blanc," "The Mask of Anarchy," the last act of Prometheus Unbound); Wordsworth, The Prelude.
Coleridge, selected lyrics (including "This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison," "Frost at Midnight," "The Eolian Harp," "Dejection: an Ode")
Charlotte Smith, Beachy Head.
John Clare, "The Lament of Swordy Well," and selected lyrics; Clare, "Helpstone"; The Shepherd's Calendar.
Matthew Arnold, "Thyrsis"; "The Scholar Gypsy."

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements

Article review (orally delivered) 15%; seminar presentation 25%; class participation 15%; final research paper 45%

Term: S-TERM (January 2023 to April 2023)
Date/Time: Wednesday / 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Aesthetics and Ethics: the Late Victorians 

H. Li

Course Description

This course examines the late Victorians’ intellectual efforts to move beyond mid-Victorian culture. In particular, we will focus on their conception of the relations between ethics and aesthetics, as a paradigm shift away from mid-Victorian ideas of ethics, which were primarily rational and prescriptive. By analyzing experimental forms of cognitive aesthetics in George Eliot, William Morris, Thomas Hardy, Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, we will reconstruct a contestatory conception of ethics in these writers that was ironic, sensory and counter-factual, a new “higher ethics” (Walter Pater). Issues to be discussed include ethology of skepticism, dialectics of futuristic envisioning, utopian superscription, naturalistic affect, and feelings as the intellect.

Course Texts

Walter Pater, The Renaissance (1873 and 1893)
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876)
William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890)
Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), De Profundis (1905)
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (1895)

Critical readings by Theodor Adorno, Amanda Anderson, Derek Attridge, Alain Badiou, Stanley Cavell, Jürgen Habermas, Emmanuel Levinas, Alastair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, and Charles Taylor.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements

Seminar presentation: 25%; Participation 20%; Major Essay 55%.

Term: S-TERM (January 2023 to April 2023)
Date/Time: Wednesday 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: Room BL 305 (Claude T. Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person