Introduction and Syllabus for English 3414: Introduction to Victorian Poetry and Non-Fiction Prose, Lakehead University, Ontario, Winter Session: 2005

Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, Victorian Web; Faculty of Education, Lakehead University (Canada)

Course Description

The course will include close study of primary texts. The texts will introduce students to a variety of poetic and non-fictional works (primarily essays) written in Great Britain during the course of the Post-Romantic nineteenth century, and will reflect the following topics:

The following principles will condition the course's examination of Victorian poetry and non-fiction:

Theory: the course will introduce the students to a variety of theoretical approaches.

History: the course will include texts from the period 1840 to 1900, and consider the influences of political and social contexts.

Identity: the course will include works that have been written both male and female authors, and that permit some consideration of various constructions of identity, such as age, sexuality, class, and region.

Genre: although the course will generally focus on the genres of poetry and expository prose, the course will consider such particular forms as the ballad, the narrative essay, the journalistic essay, the travelogue, the epic (heroic poem), the ode, the patter song, the elegy, the sonnet, and the dramatic monologue.

Schedule: Attempt to read each assigned text (especially prose selections) before class; come prepared to discuss it.

Week 1

January 5: Examination and discussion of the course outline; exploration of topics covered in The Victorian Web. Introduction to the period: Charles Dickens, "The Fine Old English Gentleman," Thomas Hood, "Song of the Shirt" (see Course Readings), and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Week 2

10: "The Kraken" (398), "Mariana" (396), and "The Lady of Shalott" (398).

12: "Tithonus" (418), "Ulysses" (416), and "The Lotus-Eaters" (406).

Week 3

17: "Morte d' Arthur" (420), "The Splendour Falls" (438), In Memoriam A. H. H. "Obit 1833" (441), XXVIII (447), LV (453), LVI (453), CVI (460), "Epilogue" (465).

19: Tennyson, "Crossing the Bar" (491), and cooperative group work.

Week 4

24: Robert Browning, introduction (492 and The Victorian Web), "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister" (500) and "My Last Duchess" (502).

26: Questionnaire on and discussion of "My Last Duchess"; "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" (503); and "Fra Lippo Lippi" (509).

Week 5

31: "A Toccata of Galuppi's" (518), "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" (528), and "Andrea del Sarto" (542).

February 2: Walter Pater, from The Renaissance (313); John Ruskin, from The Stones of Venice, "The Nature of Gothic" (174).

Week 6

7: "Abt Vogler" (565), "Caliban on Setebos" (568), and cooperative group work. 9: Matthew Arnold, introduction (579 and The Victorian Web),

"Dover Beach" (590), "The Buried Life" (595), and from "Empedocles on Etna" (590).

14-18 February: Reading and Study Week (no regular classes)

Week 7

21: Mid-term examination on materials studied thus far.

23: "First Edition of Poems: Preface" (205-15); "Sohrab and Rustum."

Week 8

28: Wilkie Collins, introduction from The Victorian Web, and "A Sermon for Sepoys" from Household Words (Readings Booklet); cooperative group work.

Week 8

(continued) 2: Take up group work on Collins. Charles Dickens, introduction from the Victorian Web and booklet; clips from Peter Ackroyd's Dickens; start Ch. 7 of American Notes, "Philadelphia, and Its Solitary Prison" (booklet) and W. S. Gilbert, "The Yarn of the ÔNancy Bell'" (Readings Booklet).

Week 9

7: Household Words and "The Lost Arctic Voyagers," utilizing the resources of The Victorian Web; cooperative group work on Dickens.

9: Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, I, vi, and "The Hero as Poet."

Week 10

14: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese, No. 43 (booklet); Emily Brontë, "Song" (booklet); R. L. Stevenson, "Requiem" (booklet); and William Morris, "The Haystack in the Floods" (643).

16: The Pre-Raphaelites, introduction (text, 615, and The Victorian Web):

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "Barren Spring" (630); Christina Rossetti, "Song" (640); and George Meredith, "Lucifer in Starlight" (639).

Week 11

21: W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, introduction (The Victorian Web, Readings Booklet, and clips from Topsy Turvey): songs from Trial By Jury (1875).

23: Songs from H. M. S. Pinafore (1878), Pirates of Penzance (1879); John Stuart Mill, "What Is Poetry?" (75).

Week 12

28: Songs from Patience (1881), The Mikado (1885), and The Gondoliers (1889).

Thomas Hardy, introduction (The Victorian Web and Readings Booklet): realism, characterisation, tragedy, and Hardy's Wessex: "Hap"(1866).

30: "Neutral Tones" (1867), "In Time of 'Breaking of Nations'," "Drummer Hodge" (1899), "The Darkling Thrush" (1900), "After- wards," "Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?" and group work.

Week 12

April 4: Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Windhover" (683); Arthur Hugh Clough, "Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth" (698); and Charles Algernon Swinburne, "A Forsaken Garden" (672).

Friday, April 8th: Last day of submission for all term work.

Related Materials

Victorian Web Related Courses

Last modified 17 October 2004