Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Though the era of British Romanticism (ca. 1790-1830) is sometimes exclusively associated with the poetry of these years, this period was just as importantly a time of great innovation in British prose fiction. Romantic novelists pioneered or revolutionized several genres, including social/philosophical problem novels, tales of sentiment and sensibility, and the historical novel. Writing in the years of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, and the early industrial revolution, these writers conveyed a spirit of chaos and upheaval even in stories whose settings are seemingly farthest removed from those cataclysmic historical events. In this year's offering of "Major English Novels," we will read of plagues, wars, hysterics, monsters and more in novels by authors including William Godwin, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Walter Scott. In the final weeks of the semester, we will read one major novel of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, in light of these earlier texts. There will be two essay assignments, one 5-7 pages and one 8-10 pages in length, and required presentations.
Students are required to attend all class sessions and to participate. I do not evaluate class participation in terms of how many brilliant things you say in the course of the semester, but I require you to have read the texts thoroughly and to come to class prepared to talk about them. In addition, every student will be required to deliver at least one presentation on an assigned work during the semester. These presentations, between 15-20 minutes in length, should be conceived as exercises in literary interpretation through close analysis, and should ideally help to stimulate a discussion through arguments and questions.
For each essay assignment, I will distribute a handout detailing requirements and due dates. Feel free to come and discuss with me written assignments before they are due if you have any questions or problems.
Plagiarism - use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement - is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution consult the style guides and the MIT Website on Plagiarism located at: http://humanistic.mit.edu/wcc/avoidingplagiarism.
MIT's academic honesty policy can be found at the following link: http://web.mit.edu/policies/10.0.html