Reading and Writing about Literature
TTh, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
This course explores literary responses to the many real and imagined technological innovations of the Victorian period: electric power, the telegraph, telephone, photograph, phonograph, automaton, typewriter, time machine, flying machine, automobile, and railway. While the course will primarily concentrate on the work of British authors such as Charles Dickens, Clementina Black, and H.G. Wells, we will also examine technology-focused literature from America and France, by authors such as Mark Twain and Jules Verne. As the course progresses, students will become familiar with key critical evaluations of Victorian technofiction that draw on a range of sociohistorical, political, media-history, and textually-materialist perspectives.
Much of the literature we examine will be short periodical fiction; yet we will study a few longer texts as well, among them: Charles Dickens et. al.’s Mugby Junction, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and Jules Verne’s Castle in Transylvania.
Our Tuesday class will normally consist of a pre-recorded lecture that students will be expected to watch before our live (online) class discussion on Thursday. Thursday’s class discussion will not be recorded.