Life and Lives in the Nineteenth Century British Novel

Winter 2016-2017

20504 / 40776

Hilary Strang

Life in the nineteenth century seems to be sometimes the object of political power (population, poverty legislation, sanitation reform, biopower), sometimes the rich and textured subject of the developing realist novel. This class will pursue where and how the concept of life moves between these sites. We will ask questions around the divide between human and non-human life in this period; the right over life, including the right to kill; and how and when nineteenth century novels engage with pluralities, communities or multiple lives. Readings will include novels (Shelley, Dickens, Bronte, Hardy); political and philosophical writing of the period (Malthus, Paine, Mill, Eliot, among others); theoretical texts (Agamben, Foucault, Marx) and literary criticism. Undergraduate: (B, G, H) Graduate: (18th/19th)