ENGLISH 452 - Studies in Literature, 1830-Present
Fall 2023, Section 001 - Poverty and the Literature of Crisis
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (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.


Poverty was the social problem in late nineteenth-century Britain – and it remains one of the most urgent social issues in twenty-first century Britain. Then, the causes of poverty and the conditions of the poor were represented in sensationalized language for the purposes of calling attention to what one social reformer called “a crisis of history.” Now, as we face an economic crisis of global proportions, poverty tends to be connected to class, wealth inequality, dispossession, racial capitalism, and other forms of oppression.

This course considers nineteenth and twentieth-century British fiction and non-fiction that speaks to the paradox that industrialization has yielded wealth and poverty. What theories and methods of reading does literature about poverty require? How does literature help us to understand changing attitudes to poverty in Britain? Does it provide us with a language for talking about poverty as a mode of experience as well as a socioeconomic condition? At the same time, what are the ethical challenges for us, as readers, in assessing literary representations of poverty?

This course satisfies the following CURRENT English major/minor requirement: Pre-1900, Identity & Difference

This course satisfies the following NEW English major/minor requirements: Regions (Americas, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland), Time: 18th/19th Centuries, Time: Contemporary/Modern


Course Requirements:

The course requires active involvement in lectures and discussions, completion of assignments including reading blogs, short essays (5 pages), and a final research paper (8-10 pages). No mid-term, no final exam.

Intended Audience:

The course is intended for students who have taken at least two English courses. It is open to undergraduates across all departments and programs, including LSA, the Honors Program, the Residential College, and students in music, theater, dance, architecture, art and design.


ENGLISH 452 - Studies in Literature, 1830-Present
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
MW 5:30PM - 7:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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