Section Information for Spring 2017
The nineteenth century was a golden age of fiction. Lacking movies or TV, people read novels aloud to each other in the evenings and would wait impatiently for the next monthly installment. The result was more fine novelists than any one course could hope to cover. English 360 will focus on fiction in translation, as shown by realistic novels in France and Russia from 1830 to 1880. The course also includes an influential German novel from the 1770s.
To understand fiction before realism, we start with two short novels in the romantic tradition: Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther and Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time. We then turn to classical realism in France and Russia, as seen in Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. One of George Sand’s pastoral novels, Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Dostoevsky's The Gambler, round off the course with works that tested the boundaries of realism and often prepare for modern fiction.
Classes will mix lectures and discussion. Written work includes several in-class and take-home exercises on the readings, a short course paper, and a final exam.