Instructor: Professor Landow (office: 338 Carr House; e-mail:; office hours: 1-2:00, Wednesday. TA: Katherine Miller e-mail: Class meets 11.00-11:50 AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Marcuvitz Auditorium, room 220, 185 Meeting Street (Sidney E. Hall Life Sciences) Classweb: Victorian Web


Writing assignments

Note: Check this on-line reading list at the beginning of each week since assignments may change or be reordered.

Week 1 (27-29 January) — Introduction to the Course: Madmen — Different Ways of Being Crazy

Robert Browning, "Porphyria's Lover" (text) and "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" (text); Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Lucretius" and "St. Simeon Stylites;" Lord Dunsany, "The Coronation of Mr. Thomas Shap" (text). [Discussion questions on Dunsany]

Week 2 (1-5 February) — Madwomen

Readings: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (SitemapFull text in VW — Discussion questions)

Week 3 (8-12 February) — Mystics

Readings: Browning, "Rabbi Ben Ezra;" Tennyson, brief selections from In Memoriam (Sections 2, 5, 7, 14, 22, 50, 54-56, 69, 95, 131 (text in the Victorian Web); "The Coming of Arthur" (text) and "The Holy Grail" (from The Idylls of the King).

Week 4 (15-19 February) — Mystics

Readings: George MacDonald's Phantastes (E-text in VW — Discussions)

Weeks 5 & 6 (24 February through 2-5 March) — Monsters

Great Expectations (DiscussionsFull text.

Note: On Friday the 26th the class will meet in Wilson 102 so the Corporation can meet in our usual room.

Week 7 (8-12 March) — Monsters

Reading: Tennyson, "The Kraken." Christina Rossetti, "Goblin Market; Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess and "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St Praxed's";" Lord Dunsany, "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind The Jeweller," "The House of the Sphinx," "Miss Cubbidge and the Dragon Of Romance," "The Hoard of the Gibbelins," "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art Upon the Gnoles," and "Chu-Bu and Sheemish."

Week 8 (15-19 March) — Monsters

Reading: Lewis Carroll, The Alice Books. (Discussions)

Week 9 (22 -28 March). — Prophets

Reading and specific works: Carlyle, "Signs of the Times" (text); the chapter on symbols from Sartor; "The Amphibious Pope and the Seven-foot Hat" from Past and Present; Rossetti, "The Burden of Nineveh" "The Woodspurge;" Troy Town," "Mary's Girlhood" and "The Passover in the Holy Family." Landow, "The Genre of Sage-Writing (or Secular Prophecy);" recommended additional reading: relevant sections of Elegant Jeremiahs.

Note: a new kind of weekly assignment instead of the usual question sets.

[Spring recess 27 March-4 April]

Week 10 (5-9 April) — Perverts

A. C. Swinburne. Sex and Politics, Sexual Politics: Reading: "Laus Veneris," "The Triumph of Time," "Dolores," , "Anactoria," and Dirae [text], "Before a Crucifix" [text], " "A Foresaken Garden," "Evening on the Broads" [text], "By the North Sea" [text]. . Discussion questions.


Week 11 (12-16 April) — Prophets

Reading: Ruskin, "Traffic," Modern Painters, Volume 1, chapters "On the Truth of Color" and "On the Truth of Water" (at U.of Lancaster, UK), Unto This Last (available from Project Gutenberg). Discussion questions.

Week 12 (19-23). — Perverts as Prophets: the Aesthetes and Decadents (1)

Reading: Parodying sage-writng or creating a new form of it? Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying" (a list of discussion questions follows the main text); Max Beerbohm, "A Defence of Cosmetics and "Diminuendo." — Discussion Questions

Suggested additional materials (mostly for fun):

Aubrey Beardsley; Max Beerbohm, Rossetti and His Circle (caricatures); Sidney Sime

Week 13 (26-30 April). — Perverts: the Aesthetes, Decadents, and Anti-Decadents (2)

Reading: Introduction to the Aesthetes, Decadents, and Symbolists. Ernest Dowson, "Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration" [text] and "Extreme Unction" [text]; Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying," "Les Ballons ," "The Harlot's House ," "Helas! ," "Impression du Matin," "Pan — Double Villanelle ," "The Sphinx ," "Symphony In Yellow."

An Anti-Decadent: W. E. Henley's In Hospital.

Week 14 (3-7 May). — Kipling, Empires, Armies, and Post-Victorian Perverted Violence

Reading: “Tommy, ” “Gunga Din,” and “Mary Postgate” (short story).

Wriiting Assignments

Some Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Writing

Mechanical Matters — Punctuation and Diction

  • If you havn't seen the Library's new story-based video tutorial, a series of six, brief, student produced modules on doing research, take a look at it..
  • Books Ordered

    The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins & Vivienne J. Rundle.

    Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Broadview paperback (this edition has a lot of valuable extra material).

    Carroll, Lewis. The Alice Books. Norton Critical Edition.

    George MacDonald. Phantatstes. Eerdmans paperback

    Last modified 3 March 2010