ENGLISH 361 - The Victorian Novel
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Bestsellers and the Creative Industries
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Bigamy, broken engagements, suicide, war, love, marriage, adultery, illegitimate children, theft, murder, and death: this is the stuff of nineteenth-century novels. This course will examine the bestseller as a distinctively modern phenomenon, with origins in the nineteenth century and relevance to the creative industries today. The title, ‘Not the Victorian Novel,’ is deliberately provocative, both challenging the arbitrariness of a period determined by the life of a British monarch (Queen Victoria, 1837-1901) and cutting across distinctions between high and low, elite and popular, forms of literature. To this end, we will read some of the bestselling British novels of the nineteenth century and work out why they were so popular, what, if anything, they have in common, and whether they stand the test of time. Of especial importance will be the emergence of novel-writing as a profession – for women as well as men – in parallel with the rise of the bestseller as a creative industry – for profit. The aim in looking at the novel from these perspectives is, therefore, to understand how literature can generate economic as well as aesthetic value in society.

Our bestsellers list will likely include *some* from the following:

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1831)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1855)
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1861)
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876)
George Gissing, New Grub Street (1891)
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)

Please note: we will watch some TV adaptations of these novels to assess their value today.


ENGLISH 361 - The Victorian Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

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