Fall 2005
Fully Enrolled

HUMS 644
Dickens and London

Burt,Daniel S.

09/12/2005 - 12/17/2005
Thursday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Fisk Hall 115

Charles Dickens has been called "the greatest dramatic writer that the English had had since Shakespeare." He is also one of the first great "urban" novelists who dramatized the impact of modern city life on the individual and the culture of the 19th century. Dickens's great passion and obsession was London--the city of "strange contrasts," of great wealth and poverty, exhilarating in its multiplicity and bewildering in its labyrinthine confinement. In his novels, Dickens celebrated the attractions of London while hauntingly portraying its horrors as well.

We will examine other 19th-century responses to London by the journalist and proto-sociologist Henry Mayhew, author of the classic study, London Labour and the London Poor, and in the popular literature of terror and suspense. We will analyze Dickens's fiction from the vantage point of his response to modern urban life.

The Pickwick Papers, Dombey and Son, Bleak House, and Great Expectations will be read in their entirety, while relevant sections from other novels and stories will be examined. Film screenings will supplement the readings.

Students will have an opportunity to research aspects of London life during the period and complete a final critical or creative project on a topic of their choice.

Daniel Burt (B.A. Colgate University; M.A., Ph.D. New York University) is author of The Chronology of American History, The Biography Book, and a three-volume critical guide to historical fiction. He has written extensively about Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett in The Literary 100 and The Novel 100, and on Shaw, Synge, O'Casey, and Friel in the forthcoming Drama 100.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Charles Dickens, BLEAK HOUSE (W.W. Norton), Paperback

Charles Dickens, DOMBEY AND SON (Penguin Classics), Paperback

Charles Dickens, GREAT EXPECTATIONS (W.W. Norton), Paperback

Charles Dickens, THE PICKWICK PAPERS (Penguin Classics), Paperback


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