ENGLISH 452 - Studies in Literature, 1830-Present
Winter 2018, Section 002 - Fiction and Reality
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
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Novels are fictional—that is, explicitly made-up stories about imaginary characters—yet they typically strive to convince their readers they are true to life. Taking this paradox as our starting point, this course will explore such questions as: What techniques do novelists use to make their novels seem realistic? What understanding of reality do novels assume or promote? How have these techniques and these understandings changed over time? What are the ethical, political, and affective benefits and pitfalls of using novels as a lens through which to view the real world?

We will read a series of novels from the second half of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries, along with related critical and theoretical work. The centerpiece of the course will be Middlemarch, by George Eliot (Marian Evans): Eliot was the first English novelist to use the term “realism,” and Middlemarch is widely considered the greatest realist novel in English (and the greatest British novel of all, if you believe a recent BBC poll of experts). Other likely texts include Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles; H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds; and Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (#2 in that poll!). Depending on class interest, we may add or swap in a couple of other authors, such as Charles Dickens and (jumping ahead to the twenty-first century) Ian McEwan or the newest Nobel Prize laureate, Kazuo Ishiguro.


ENGLISH 452 - Studies in Literature, 1830-Present
Schedule Listing
002 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
1/3/18 - 4/17/18

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