Description and Goals
In this course you will become familiar
with representative works of verse and prose fiction by British authors
of the 19th and 20th centuries. Through reading assignments, in-class
discussions, out-of-class research, and written assignments, you should
become a more probing and appreciative reader of literature and a more
articulate writer of expository and analytical/interpretive prose.
Really, this year's version of the seminar
consists of a reading list looking for a trip, and in fact I'll work with
any of you who are interested in designing an itinerary for an "independent"
May module to England--an intercultural extension of the course, in which
I'll also participate. This intercultural extension will follow in
general the route of the reading list--from London southwest through Austen
and Hardy Country, west into Devon, perhaps even to Cornwall--and include
some additional reading and journaling. More on this as the semester
The route of the reading list--we are
not following chronology--begins in London with two immensely popular short
novels: A Christmas Carol and The Hound of the Baskervilles,
which will divert us to Dartmoor in Devon. We'll then consider Persuasion,
which Jane Austen wrote at Chawton in Hampshire, near Winchester.
The novel itself will take us into Somerset, to Lyme Regis on the coast,
and northward to Bath in Avon. Back amid the environs of Winchester
and Salisbury, The Warden awaits us. We then venture into
Dorset and mythical Wessex with Tess. With Hardy's poems our
exploration of southwestern England (now including Cornwall) continues.
Thence again to Lyme Regis with The French Lieutenant's Woman and
up into Somerset to the little village of East Coker with one of Eliot's
Quartets. We return, during the Blitz, to London (with a glance
northward to the village of Little Gidding) with another of the
Quartets. We'll review virtually the entire itinerary with The
Remains of the Day before settling into the London suburbs with the
poems of Stevie Smith. Along the way we'll learn about the geography
and the history of the region as they relate to our texts.