HUHI 7320:
Sex and Gender
in Late Victorian Britain



In the wake of scholars as different as Steven Marcus, Michel Foucault, and Martha Vicinus, historians have come to see the final decades of the nineteenth century as a crucial period in the development of modern sexual and gender identities and norms. The 1880s and 1890s witnessed struggles to formulate and enact new forms of sociability--such as independent women, marriage between equals, and both "heterosexual" and "homosexual" identities --that are fundamental to our contemporary sense of self. As a consequence, a major concern of cultural historians of late nineteenth-century Europe has been to explore how people at the time understood sexuality and gender--especially as these were evidenced and imagined in literature.

This reading course, focused on the example of Great Britain between 1880 and 1910, is designed to introduce students to important examples of this period's varied constructions of sexuality and gender. Our reading will center on popular fiction--including the Four Horsemen of the fin de siècle (Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, Dracula)--but will also include poetry, journalism, and early sexology. We will examine cultural figures as diverse as the New Woman, the colonial explorer, the sexual invert, the "white slave," Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes. The course aims as well to introduce students to recent critical scholarship on this material.

REQUIRED TEXTS (available at Off-Campus Books):

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four
George Gissing, The Odd Women
Sarah Grand, The Heavenly Twins
H. Rider Haggard, She
Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle
Olive Schreiner, The Story of An African Farm
Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy
Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Bram Stoker, Dracula
John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Modern Ethics
Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Additional texts (marked * ) are on Reserve in McDermott Library

COURSE REQUIREMENTS/EVALUATION CRITERIA:

Seminar preparation and participation; reading journal; one 10-15 page paper on course readings.

August 27:

INTRODUCTION

September 3: CREATING A CONTEXT
  • Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy (1990), Chapter 1
  • Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight (1992) Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2
  • *Jeffrey Richards, "`Passing the love of women': manly love and Victorian society" in Mangan & Walvin, eds., Manliness & Morality (1987)
  • *Martha Vicinus, Introduction & Chapter 1 in Independent Women (1985)
  • *Jeffrey Weeks, "Inverts, Perverts, and Mary-Annes: Male Prostitution and the Regulation of Homosexuality in England in the 19th and early 20th Centuries" (1981) in Duberman et al., eds., Hidden from History (1989)
  • *Eliza Lynn Linton, "The Wild Women: As Social Insurgents" (1891)
  • *Mona Caird, "A Defence of the So-called `Wild Women'" (1892)
September 10: THEORY AND PRACTICE
  • *W. T. Stead, "Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" (1885)
  • Walkowitz, Chapters 3 & 4
  • Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle (1903)
  • *Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "The Beast in the Closet" (1984) in W. Dynes & S. Donaldson, eds., Homosexual Themes in Literary Studies (1992)
September 17: ODD WOMEN
  • Mary Coleridge, "A Clever Woman" (1883), "Marriage" (1900) [handout]
  • Anon., "How A Strong-Souled Woman Feels About the Marriage Tie As It Is" (1893) [handout]
  • George Gissing, The Odd Women (1893)
  • Showalter, Chapter 2
September 24: THE NEW WOMAN
  • D. B. M., "The New Woman" (1894) [handout]
  • Olive Schreiner, The Story of An African Farm (1883)
  • Showalter, Chapter 3
  • Walkowitz, Chapter 5
October 1: MASCULINITY & IMPERIALISM
  • Mary Coleridge, "The White Women" (1900) [handout]
  • Rudyard Kipling, "The Female of the Species" (1911) [handout]
  • H. Rider Haggard, She (1886)
  • Showalter, Chapter 5
  • *Sandra Gilbert, "Rider Haggard's Heart of Darkness," Partisan Review 50: 3 (1983)
  • *Laura Chrisman, "The Imperial Unconscious? Representations of imperial discourse," Critical Quarterly 32 (Autumn 1990)
October 8:

Reading week: NO CLASS

October 15: THE NEW WOMAN REVISITED
  • *Eliza Lynn Linton, "The Girl of the Period" (1868)
  • Sarah Grand, The Heavenly Twins (1893)
October 22: THE DOUBLE LIFE
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  • Showalter, Chapter 6
  • *William Veeder, "Children of the Night: Stevenson and Patriarchy," in William Veeder & Gordon Hirsch, eds., Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after One Hundred Years (1988)
  • *Wayne Koestenbaum, "The Shadow On the Bed: Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde & the Labouchère Amendment" Critical Matrix Special Issue No. 1 (1988)
  • *Janice Doane & Devon Hodges, "Demonic disturbances of sexual identity: The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr/s Hyde," Novel 23 (Fall 1989)
October 29: JACK THE RIPPER
  • Arthur Symons, "In the Strand" (1889) [handout]
  • * selected articles, The Pall Mall Gazette
  • Walkowitz, Chapter 7 & Epilogue
  • Showalter, Chapter 7
  • *Sander Gilman, "`Who Kills Whores?' `I Do,' Says Jack: Race, Gender, and Body in Victorian London" in Catherine Burroughs and Jeffrey Ehrenreich, eds., Reading the Social Body (1993)
November 5: DECADENCE & ITS DISCONTENTS
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
  • Showalter, Chapter 9
  • *Linda Dowling, "The Decadent and the New Woman in the 1890s" Nineteenth Century Fiction 33 (1979)
  • *Ed Cohen, "Writing Gone Wilde: Homoerotic Desire in the Closet of Representation," (1987) in R. Gagnier, ed., Critical Essays on Oscar Wilde
  • *Jeff Nunokawa, "The importance of being bored: the dividends of ennui in The PiIcture of Dorian Gray" Studies in the Novel 28 (Fall 1996)
November 12: SAME-SEX DESIRE
  • Mark André Raffalovich, "The World Well Lost XVIII" (1886) [handout]
  • Lord Alfred Douglas, "Two Loves," "In Praise of Shame" (1894) [handout]
  • John Gambril Nicholson, "I Love Him Wisely" (1896) [handout]
  • *John Francis Bloxam, "The Priest and the Acolyte" (1894)
  • John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Modern Ethics (1896)
  • *Richard Dellamora, "Homosexual Scandal & Compulsory Heterosexuality in the 1890s" in Masculine Desires (1990)
November 19: BAD BLOOD
  • Arthur Symons, "The Vampire" (1896) [handout]
  • Rudyard Kipling, "The Vampire" (1897) [handout]
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
  • Showalter, Chapter 10
  • *Carol Senf, "Dracula: Stoker's Response to the New Woman" Victorian Studies 26:1 (1982)
  • *Chris Craft, "Kiss Me With Those Red Lips: Gender & Inversion in Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1984) in M. Carter, ed., Dracula; the Vampire & The Critics (1988)
December 3: INVESTIGATING THE SOCIAL BODY
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four (1890)
  • *Lawrence Frank, "Dreaming the Medusa: imperialism, primitivism and sexuality in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of the Four," Signs 22:1 (Autumn 1996)
***FINAL 10-15 PAGE PAPER DUE ON DECEMBER 12th***