Book list: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1838); Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot (1835); Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866); G. K. Chersterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (1908); Andrey Bely, Petersburg (1916); Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (1925).
Focusing on key texts from English, Russian, and French literatures, this course traces the development of the modern novel in Europe, from the early 19th to the early 20th century, and the all-important shift from Realism to Modernism. The texts are chosen to allow us to follow a specific thread: the intimate relationship between the European novel and the European city. Reading novels set in London, Paris and Petersburg, we will examine the changing experience of space and time, self and consciousness, private and public, center and periphery, high art and popular culture. Lectures will emphasize strategies of close reading and concepts from theories of the novel. We will use visual materials (photography, painting, and film) and discuss how the novel interacts with the visual arts and prepares the way for cinematography. In comparing novels from different national traditions, we will explore the interplay between genre and culture. (All readings in English.) There will be two midterms and one final examination.