Introduction to Victorian Literature: Men and Women

Winter 2018-2019

10640

Josephine McDonagh

This course will introduce the major genres of fiction and poetry produced in Victorian Britain. I have chosen texts that highlight the period’s central preoccupations: gender and sexuality. A time during which the so-called Woman Question vexed politicians, commentators and activists, when marriage and motherhood were under review, and styles of masculinity contested, literature of the period presented dynamic discussions about the roles of men and women, how they might interact, and what they can do. These texts are also some of the most formally innovative of the period. Texts are likely to include Robert Browning’s Men and Women (which gives us our title), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, M E Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret, Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, and short stories by the New Woman writer, George Egerton, and Oscar Wilde. (1830-1940)