Fall 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Gossin, Pamela
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6312 Section 002
R Time 10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
Hardy, Darwin, and Friends

Description of Course:

HUSL 6312
Hardy, Darwin, and Friends

What is our place in nature? What does it mean to be a conscious being within the organic and inorganic universe? How did concepts of inheritance, heredity and evolutionary natural development inform various forms of literary, philosophical and natural historical inquiry produced in Great Britain during the long nineteenth century? In what ways did authors’ use of form and genre relate to their understanding of natural history, astronomy and cosmology?

In this course we will examine some of the most powerful 19th-c narratives produced in response to such questions, focusing on the works of Thomas Hardy and Charles Darwin, in relation to other contemporary writers who engaged similar issues, such as Bronte, Dickens, Eliot, and Tennyson, among others. Class discussions will include such topics as: concepts of progress, gender, race, class, aesthetic and moral values, God, nature, the Industrial Revolution, geology, and evolutionary theory.

The class will be an in-depth immersion into the worlds of the 19th-c novel and non-fiction narrative, with a heavy reading load of primary texts (averaging 400-500pp per week), as well as additional weekly assignments in critical theory and scholarly criticism. Class format will include student presentations, daily participation in class discussion, supplemented with informational background lectures and extra credit / enrichment videos.

* NOTE: Although the historical contexts of scientific and technological change will inform our reading and discussion, no previous background in science or technology is required. *

This course should be of special value and interest to intermediate and advanced graduate students who already have strong backgrounds in 19th-c British literature and history and are seeking to develop a deeper understanding of the interdisciplinary relations between creative literature and the history of science, especially natural history, evolutionary theory, astronomy and cosmology.

Required Texts:

(May be subject to change)
Required Texts

Appleman, Philip, ed., Darwin, 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company (2000)
ISBN-10: 0393958493
ISBN-13: 978-0393958492

Keynes, Creation: True Story of Charles Darwin, Riverhead Trade (2009)
ISBN-10: 1594484740

Hardy, Thomas:

- Pair of Blue Eyes, Oxford (Reissue, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0199538492
ISBN-13: 978-0199538492

- Far From the Madding Crowd, Norton; 1st edition (1986)
ISBN-10: 9780393954081
ISBN-13: 978-0393954081

- The Return of the Native, Norton; 2nd edition (2006)
ISBN-10: 0393927873
ISBN-13: 978-0393927870

- Two on a Tower, Penguin Classics (2000)
ISBN-10: 0140435360
ISBN-13: 978-0140435368

- The Woodlanders, Oxford (Reissue, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0199538530
ISBN-13: 978-0199538539

- Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Norton; 3rd edition (1990)
ISBN-10: 9780393959031
ISBN-13: 978-0393959031

- Jude the Obscure, Norton & Company; 2nd edition (1999)
ISBN-10: 9780393972788
ISBN-13: 978-0393972788

Horace Walpole, Castle of Otranto, Oxford (2009)
ISBN-10: 9780199537211
ISBN-13: 978-0199537211

H.G. Wells, Time Machine, Dover; Centennial Edition (1995)
ISBN-10: 9780486284729
ISBN-13: 978-0486284729

Recommended Texts: (students will select 1 scholarly/critical text from this list)

Beer, Gillian, Darwin’s Plots, Cambridge; 3rd edition;
ISBN-10: 9780521743617
ISBN-13: 978-0521743617

Gossin, Pamela, Thomas Hardy’s Novel Universe, Ashgate (2007)
ISBN-10: 0754603369
ISBN-13: 978-0754603368

Graham, Peter, Jane Austen and Charles Darwin, Ashgate (2008)
ISBN-10: 9780754658511
ISBN-13: 978-0754658511

Levine, George, Darwin Loves You, Princeton (2008)
ISBN-10: 0691136394
ISBN-13: 978-0691136394

Ruse, Darwinism and its Discontents, Cambridge (2008)
ISBN-10: 9780521728249
ISBN-13: 978-0521728249

Students will also read some titles from this list (any edition owned or loaned fine)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and/or Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (any edition)
Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Penguin and/or George Eliot, Middlemarch (any edition)
Alfred. Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam (any edition)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

- Attendance / participation (including extra credit): 1/3rd

- 2 in-class presentations w/ accompanying 2-3pp summary/brief of 1 article-length and 1 book-length critical perspective/scholarly critique, averaged to = 1/3rd

- 12-15 pp paper on topic discussed in class and in consultation with prof. = 1/3rd

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