English 335:  Victorian Literature
Spring 2014
Meetings:  Monday & Wednesday, 2:30-3:45pm, Wilkinson 210
Professor Richard Ruppel
Office:  428 N. Glassell, 101
Office Hours:  Monday & Wednesday, 10:30-11:30am, Tuesday 1-2pm, and by appointment
Phone:  (714) 997-6754 (office)
Updated May 12, 2014

Useful Links

Course Description & Objectives:  Though Victorian connotes staid, conventional, and repressed to the popular imagination, the rich, lively, and often irreverent literature of the British Victorian period (1832-1900) contradicts this misperception.  Our semester will be built around its greatest literary form, the novel, but we'll also study representative essays and poetry.  This course involves significant reading and writing, both informal (on our discussion board) and formal (essays and essay exams).  Through our reading, discussion, and writing, we'll develop a clearer understanding of the period - its tensions, enthusiasms, hopes, fears, and sometimes contradictory moral and intellectual principles. 


The Norton Anthology of English Literature:  Volume E, The Victorian Age (9th Edition) 
Charlotte Bronte:  Jane Eyre (Norton Critical)
William Thackeray:  Vanity Fair (Norton Critical)
Charles Dickens:  Bleak House (Norton Critical)
Elizabeth Gaskell:  North and South (Norton Critical) optional

Course Requirements: 

Attendance:  Please make every effort to attend class.  Missing more than four sessions will adversely affect your grade, and students who miss seven or more classes will fail the course.

Communication:  Whether online or in class, please be courteous and constructive.  I receive a large number of emails, so when emailing, please identify the course (335), your last name, and the subject in the subject line.  I will respond promptly to your emails; please respond promptly to mine. 

Essays:  We will discuss criteria for the essays, and I will provide an essay description with suggested topics several weeks before the due dates.  These essays should be submitted in hard copy and electronically, sent directly to my email address:  ruppel@chapman.edu  (Please don't use the Blackboard Drop-Box.)  Both essays must include citations to at least two secondary sources. 

Late essays will receive reduced grades, and I will not accept papers submitted more than a week late unless you provide a convincing explanation.  To pass ENG 335, you must complete both essays.  If you are having difficulty completing a paper or a Blackboard post, let me know. 

I will accept a revision of one of your essays, but you must schedule a conference with me to discuss that revision before you submit it.  I will average the grade of the original paper and the revision. 


              Participation *:  15%
              **Essay 1:  20%
              **Essay 2:  25%
              Midterm:  15%
              Final:  25%

**Students who do not submit both essays will fail the course. 

*The “Participation” grade is primarily your grade on responses to the Blackboard Discussion assignments.  Here are my criteria for evaluating your responses:

1. The response should respond as specifically as possible to the prompt (or you should indicate why you’re modifying the prompt).

2. The response should reveal close engagement with the work(s) under discussion.


3. The posting should contribute to the discussion, so later postings should not simply repeat earlier postings, and they should reflect some engagement with earlier postings. 

4. Responses should be substantive. 

Computers in class:  If you use a computer to take class notes, you may use a computer in class.  Computers may only be used for class purposes.  Otherwise, they should stay closed. 

English Literature Program Learning Objectives:  English 335 is one of the electives you may take to fulfill the English literature major.  In the discussion board responses, formal essays, and essay exams, you will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the English Literature Program Learning Objectives listed below: 

1.    Skill in critical reading, or the practice of identifying and interpreting the formal, rhetorical, and stylistic features of a text


2.    Ability to identify and compare key literary movements and genres


3.    Ability to explain and apply significant theoretical and critical approaches in the field of English studies


4.    Skill in writing grammatically, coherently, and persuasively


5.    Skill in finding, analyzing, and utilizing secondary sources (including the appropriate methods of citation)


6.      Skill in crafting a compelling thesis-driven essay, with substantiating evidence

Chapman University Academic Integrity Policy

Chapman University is a community of scholars that emphasizes the mutual responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith.  Students are responsible for doing their own work, and academic dishonesty of any kind will be subject to sanction by the instructor and referral to the university's Academic Integrity Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including dismissal.  (See the "Undergraduate Catalog" for the full policy.)  We will discuss the proper way to incorporate sources into your writing as you prepare the first essay. 

Chapman's Students with Disabilities Policy:

In compliance with ADA guidelines, students who have any condition, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the beginning of the term. The University, through the Disability Services Office, will work with the appropriate faculty member who is asked to provide the accommodations for a student in determining what accommodations are suitable based on the documentation and the individual student needs. The granting of any accommodation will not be retroactive and cannot jeopardize the academic standards or integrity of the course.

Please see me if you have ANY concerns about completing any of the requirements of this course

Course Outline*:

Week 1:  February 3-5 – Introductions, course business, and period overview. 
Week 2:  February 10-12 – Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University.  John Stuart Mill On Liberty, The Subjection of         Women
Week 3:  February 17-19 – John Stuart Mill, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Week 4:  February 24-26 – Jane Eyre, Alfred Tennyson. 
Week 5:  March 3-5 – Tennyson.
Week 6:  March 10-12 – Robert Browning; William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Week 7:  March 17-19 – Vanity Fair

                                                    Spring Break!

Week 8:  March 31-April 2 – John Ruskin, midterm (April 2)
Week 9:  April 7-9 – Charles Dickens, Bleak House. [Essay 1 due, April 7.  5-7 pages.]
Week 10:  April 14-16 – Charles Dickens, Bleak House. 
Week 11:  April 21-23 – Bleak House and Matthew Arnold
Week 12:  April 28-30 – Christina Rossetti, William Morris, Gerard Manly Hopkins. 
Week 13:  May 5-7 –
Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No class May 7.
Week 14:  May 12-14 – Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would Be King.” Course wrap-up and preparation for the final.  [Essay 2 due, May 12.  5-7 pages.]
Week 15:  Final. Monday, May 19, 8-10:30am. 

*We may decide to alter this schedule.  I will make any changes online and give you plenty of notice. 


For Wednesday, February 5:  Read the Introduction to the Victorian Period (1017-41).  Formulate one question and one comment or observation on the Discussion Board in Blackboard by 11am Wednesday. 
For Monday, February 10:  Read the introduction to Carlyle and the selections from his Sartor Resartus (1044-1067).  Begin Jane Eyre
For Wednesday, February 12: Read the introduction to John Henry Cardinal Newman and the selection from The Idea of the University (1076-86).  By 11am Wednesday, formulate one question about Sartor Resartus and one about The Idea of the University on our Discussion Board.  Continue reading Jane Eyre. 
For Monday, February 17:  Read the introduction to John Stuart Mill (1086-88), and the selections from On Liberty and The Subjection of Women (1095-1115).  Continue Jane Eyre, which we’ll begin discussing February 19. 
For Wednesday, February 19:  Finish Jane Eyre.  By 11am Wednesday, respond to one of the questions about Jane Eyre in Blackboard.  (I’ll post these by noon, February 13.) 
For Monday, February 24:  No new assignment. 
For Wednesday, February 26: 
Read the introduction to the Tennyson section (1156-59), "The Lady of Shalott" (116)1, and “Ulysses” (1170).  Begin enjoying Vanity Fair.
For Monday, March 3:  Read “Tithonus” (1172) and the Cantos on pages 1186-1235 of In Memoriam.  Continue enjoying Vanity Fair.   
For Wednesday, March 5:  Read the introduction to the Robert Browning section and "Porphyria's Lover," "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister" & "My Last Duchess" (1275-83).  Continue reveling in Vanity Fair (which we’ll begin discussing next week).
For Monday, March 10:  Read “The Bishop Orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church” (1286), “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” (1294), and “Fra Lippo Lippi” (1300).  Continue luxuriating in Vanity Fair. 
For Wednesday, March 12:  Continue and, if possible, finish Vanity Fair.  By 10am Wednesday (March 12), answer one of the following questions on the Discussion Board:  1) Why is the novel called “Vanity Fair”?  2) Why is it subtitled “A Novel without a Hero”?  3) Characterize the narrator – what’s he like? 
For Monday, March 17:  No new assignment unless you haven’t finished frolicking with Becky and her friends in Vanity Fair.  In that case, finish frolicking. 
For Wednesday, March 19:  Bring ideas for essay 1.  Begin reading Bleak House. 
For Monday, March 31:  Read John Ruskin – the Introduction, from Modern Painters, and The Stones of Venice, 1335-52.  Continue enjoying Bleak House. 
For Wednesday, April 2:  Midterm.  Bring one page of notes, front and back, and blank paper or a green book. 
For Monday, April 7:  Prepare to begin discussing Bleak House. 
For Wednesday, April 9:  Respond to the Blackboard Discussion question about satire in Bleak House, due by 11am Wednesday, April 16. 
For Monday, April 14:  No new assignment. 
For Monday, April 21: Read the introduction to Matthew Arnold (1369-73) and "The Buried Life" (1375-77), "The Scholar Gypsy” (1380-87), & "Dover Beach" (1387-88). 
For Wednesday, April 23:  Read the selections from Matthew Arnold’s “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time,” “Culture and Anarchy,” “The Study of Poetry,” and “Literature and Science” (1404-49). 
For Monday, April 28: Read the introduction to Christina Rossetti and the poems between pages 1489-1509, including the two “Songs,” “After Death,” “Dead before Death,” Cobwebs,” “A Triad,” “In an Artist’s Studio,” “A Birthday,” “An Apple-Gathering,” “Winter:  My Secret,” “Up-Hill,” “Goblin Market,” “’No, Thank You, John,’” and “Promises Like Pie-Crust.”  Be prepared to read and discuss one. 
For Wednesday, April 30:  Read the introduction to William Morris and his “How I Became a Socialist.”  And read the introduction to Gerard Manley Hopkins and “God’s Grandeur,” “The Starlight Night,” “As Kingfishers Catch Fire,” “The Windhover,” and “Pied Beauty.”  Bring ideas for your second essay. 
For Monday, May 5:  Read Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, 1677-1719. 
For Wednesday, May 7:  No class (Henley Awards).
For Monday, May 12:  Read Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King, 1853-77. 

Useful Links

·         UNC Chapel Hill's extended definition of a poetry explication - from the UNC Writing Center.

·         The Victorian Web:  A rich collection of pages devoted to all things Victorian, sponsored by Brown University. 

·         Victorians’ Secret  A celebration of Victorian poems devoted to love and religion, with music and art history. 

·         Representative Poetry Online:  A useful compendium of information on poetry in English, including innumerable poems, a timeline, calendar, criticism, and glossary.  

·         Gresham College Victorian Age lectures:   Religion and Science; Art and Culture; Life and Death; Empire and Race. - Professor Richard J. Evans.

·         Poet Laureates of England. 

Thomas Carlyle

·         Image of Jane Welsh Carlyle

·         Duke University Carlyle Letter Project

John Henry Cardinal Newman

·         The Idea of a University

John Stuart Mill

·         The Subjection of Women

Charlotte Brontë

·         Rachel Pietka’s PowerPoint on religious references in Jane Eyre. 

·         Elizabeth Gaskell's biography, The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857).    

·         Jane Eyre:  2006 BBC 2011 trailer. 

·         The story of Bluebeard, alluded to in Jane Eyre and referenced by Sandra Gilbert in her seminal essay on the novel in The Madwoman in the Attic (1979), excerpted in our Norton edition of the novel. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

·         Loreena McKennitt’s musical version of “The Lady of Shalott,” with images from paintings and photos of (presumably) the UK.  

·         Tennyson himself reciting “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

Robert Browning

·         Reading of "My Last Duchess" by Julian Glover.

·         The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church,” acted by R P Jones. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

·         The Gutenberg etext of Vanity Fair. 

·         Audio Book of Vanity Fair

·         Trailer from the Reese Witherspoon adaptation of Vanity Fair (2004) 

Charles Dickens

·         The Gutenberg etext of Bleak House. 

·         Audio Book of Bleak House. 

·         The BBC production of Bleak House 

·         Ralf Fiennes reads from Bleak House (Jo’s death scene), on Dickens’ 200 birthday. 

·         New York Times column that alludes to Bleak House as one of the foundational texts for lawyers. 

Elizabeth Gaskell

·         Audio Book of North and South. 

John Ruskin

·         J. M. W. Turner’s Slave Ship (1840)

Robert Louis Stevenson

·         Interesting essay in the Guardian on Jekyll and Hyde that lists popular adaptations and summarizes various allegorical readings. 

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