Prof. Sukanya Banerjee

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English 621-001 Spring 2014

Prof. Sukanya Banerjee

Literature in Victorian England: Sensation Fiction in Victorian Britain


phone: x-5454

Office: Curtin 497

Office hours: Tuesdays 3:00-5:00 and by appointment
Course Description

Sensation fiction refers to a vastly popular -- if somewhat controversial -- sub-genre of fiction that made its mark in mid-Victorian Britain. Written mostly by women and dealing with themes such as bigamy, murder, adultery, blackmail, and mistaken identity, the serial publication of these novels enthralled the reading public even as it provoked the ire of most literary critics and reviewers of the day. In this course, we will examine some of the celebrated -- or infamous -- sensation novels of the day and analyze how the controversy generated by these novels also reflected deeply contested notions of class mobility, gender identity (including female authorship), sexuality, domesticity, and nationhood. In so doing, we will consider the mutually constitutive relation between sensation fiction and the ideals and prescriptions of Victorian gender ideology. In also examining how sensation novels forced the question of “literary taste,” we will situate sensation fiction amidst a growing and changing world of consumer culture and mass production. Finally, we will consider the relation between sensation novels and the resurgence of the gothic in late-Victorian novels, such as Dracula.

Required Texts
It is very important that you use the editions specified below. I will be placing orders through the UWM Bookstore. Prices provided below are for unused copies of the novels and are approximate.
#1.Title: Lady Audley’s Secret

Author: Mary Elizabeth Braddon

ISBN: 9781551113579

Publisher: Broadview Press

Paperback ($16.95)

#2.Title: Aurora Floyd

Author: Mary Elizabeth Braddon

ISBN: 978-0-19-955516-1

Publisher: Oxford World’s Classics

Paperback ($13.30)

#3.Title: The Woman in White

Author: Wilkie Collins

Edited with Notes and Introduction by Matthew Sweet

ISBN: 9780141439617

Publisher: Penguin

Paperback ($7.60)

#4. Title: East Lynne

Author: Ellen Wood

ISBN: 9781551112343

Publisher: Broadview Press

Paperback ($22.95)

#5.Title: Dracula

Author: Bram Stoker

Editor: Maurice Hindle

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9780141439846

Paperback ($11.80)

Secondary readings will be included in a course-packet available at Clarks Graphics. Approximate cost: $15.

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