HIST230 - DANGEROUS PLEASURES: READING NOVELS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY EUROPE

Description: 
At the turn of the nineteenth century many Europeans grew increasingly worried about a disturbing and pernicious trend – novel reading. Novels, they thought, led to sentimentality, flights of fancy, and spread immoral and immodest notions. These impacts were considered all the more disturbing because many novel readers were women, and, increasingly over the nineteenth century, members of the lower classes. But despite their imagined dangers, novels were extremely popular and only became more so. What was it about novels that made them both so popular and so feared? By looking at several popular nineteenth century novels, including Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Balzac’s Old Goriot, Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, this course will explore how these novels were received, the controversies surrounding them, and ask what they tell us about the time in which they were written. Over the course of the semester students will work toward producing a research project on a novel of their choice and its place in the history of nineteenth century Europe. All course assignments will build toward the production of that research project, including an annotated bibliography, a primary sources analysis and a draft outline/introduction. Course readings will consist of novels, reviews, theoretical writings, and historical scholarship.
Instructors: 
DELLA ZAZZERA, ELIZABETH
Day and Time: 
M 0330PM-0630PM
Room: 
COLLEGE HALL 311A
Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: 
  • COML248403