In this course we will do detailed forensic work on texts that plot forward-thinking imaginative experiments over the “long” nineteenth century. We will use the rubric of *Gedankenexperiment*, "the thought-experiment," to see how these literary texts answer to rising social concerns of their own time and ours, including bellicosity and war, friendship and intimacy, the distribution of wealth and technology, national and other types of imagined communities, empire, colonization and independence, creativity and freedom, the agency of individuals and crowds, and critical race, gender and sexuality studies. These novels, stories, essays, plays and poems, often produced under the pressure of revolutionary social change and cultural hybridism, by some accounts make up the crucial heart of the Anglophone canon. By recognizing their structures of feeling, as well as analyzing their formal and thematic innovations, we will advance our understanding of their historical context and the genealogy of ours.
*The Longman Anthology of British Literature; Volumes 2A and 2B: The Romantics and Their Contemporaries; The Victorian Period*
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, *Frankenstein* (1819 edition)
Joseph Conrad, *Almayer’s Folly*
Thomas Hardy, *The Mayor of Casterbridge*
Once this course is full/closed, you can sign up to the wait list at:
Students on the wait-list must still attend the first day of lecture/section to enroll in the course.