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Course Details

Fall 2017-2018
ENG 553 / COM 556   No Pass/D/Fail

Special Studies in the Nineteenth Century - Realism, Evolution, and the "Natural History of Man"

Ian H. Duncan

The seminar explores the interaction between nineteenth-century fiction and an ascendant "natural history of man," from late-Enlightenment philosophical anthropology through early transformist biology to Charles Darwin. Topics include: the Romantic invention of new novelistic forms, the Bildungsroman and historical novel, in light of a new form of human subject; the scientific basis (in pre-Darwinian evolutionism) of Dickens's challenge to the codes of realism; reconfiguration of the relation between lyric and narrative in long poetic forms (Tennyson); George Eliot's address to the ongoing revolutions in the natural and human sciences.

Sample reading list:
Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Alfred Tennyson, The Major Works[=The Princess, Maud, In Memoriam]
Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
J.W. Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

Requirements/Grading:
Papers - 20%
Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Term Paper(s) - 60%

Other Requirements:
Open to Graduate Students Only.

Other information:
Excerpts from Buffon, Rousseau, Herder, Kant, Lamarck, Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Robert Chambers, G.H. Lewes, et al will be provided in a course reader, along with relevant secondary readings

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
22138 S01 9:00 am - 11:50 am W   McCosh Hall   40   Enrolled:10 Limit:15