Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature : Darwin’s Culture

Course Number: ENGL 233
Prerequisites: Graduate Standing
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 233
Quarter: Fall 2010
Instructor: Caldwell, Janis
Day(s): M
Time: 2:00 - 4:50 PM
Location: SH 2714

This course will read Victorian literature from a Darwinian perspective. We will explore the culture from which Charles Darwin emerged, reading Dickens's Hard Times and Tennyson's In Memoriam, then read Darwin himself (Autobiography, The Origin of Species, and selections from The Descent of Man and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals) . Then we will consider the impact of evolutionary theory on religion (Gosse's Father and Son), medicine and political reform (Eliot's Middlemarch), and notions of class and inheritance (Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles). Along the way we will be reading theoretical essays, asking how Science Studies address the "two culture" debate which arose in the Victorian period. And, because we are still in "Darwin's culture," we will begin and end with post-modern fiction about Victorian science (Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman, and A. S. Byatt's Angels and Insects).