Fiction 1832-1900: Fall/Winter 2003-04

ENG 324Y Section L0201

Course outline

Essay assignment 1
Essay assignment 2

Electronic versions of course texts

Select bibliography

Select web links

WebCT course page for quizzes

Office hours

Brief description of course

We will read some of the great novels of the Victorian era. We will place these novels within the context of the history of the novel, English and European art and music, and social history. We will pay particular attention to the novel as a voice of social reform. Other topics we will examine include: religion, science, mesmerism, the grotesque, feminism, and the fallen woman. We will not read the novels chronologically.


Gaskell, ElizabethNorth and SouthOxford World's Classics0192831941
Eliot, GeorgeMiddlemarchOxford World's Classics0192834029
Ward, Mary AugustaMarcellaBroadview Press1551111705
Thackeray, William MakepeaceVanity FairOxford World's Classics0192834436
Trollope, AnthonyBarchester TowersOxford World's Classics0192834320
Brontë, CharlotteJane EyrePenguin Classics0142437204
Brontë, EmilyWuthering HeightsPenguin Classics0141439556
Dickens, CharlesBleak HousePenguin Classics0141439726
Collins, WilkieThe Woman in WhiteOxford World's Classics0192834290
James, HenryThe Portrait of a LadyPenguin Classics0141439637
Hardy, ThomasTess of the D'UrbervillesPenguin Classics0141439599

All texts will be available at the U of T Bookstore. I highly recommend that you use the editions that have been ordered. You are expected to read Vanity Fair, Barchester Towers, and Bleak House in editions that reproduce the original illustrations: we will be discussing the illustrations in class and they might show up on tests and exams. The class has voted to make The Portrait of a Lady an optional text.


25%   first term essay
30%   second term essay
10%   December test
15%   April test
10%   quizzes or reading responses
10%   informed participation

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. All essays and tests are subject to an additional oral and/or written test at my discretion.

Quizzes and reading responses

Twelve quizzes or reading responses are required. Students may choose any combination of responses or quizzes. For example, you may choose to write five responses and seven quizzes. Quizzes appear on the course schedule: these dates are the dates the reading responses are due and the quizzes close (always a Tuesday class). Your ten highest grades among your twelve quizzes and responses will be used to calculate the final mark.

Reading responses are due at the beginning of class: no responses will be accepted after the end of class. Each response must be about two pages in length (double line spacing). In a reading response, you write about what you found interesting in that weeks reading: what you liked, what you didnt like, and what youve identified as relevant to the concerns of this course. The last of these three is the most important.

Quizzes will be taken on the Web: they will be available for about four days prior to the Tuesday class of the week on which the quiz is scheduled. You may write the quiz on the Web at any time during those four days. Quizzes will close automatically at 3 p.m. on the day of class.


Essays are due on the above dates. I cannot accept any email submissions. Everyone is entitled to five days of extension, to be used for one essay or divided over two essays. Otherwise, a lateness penalty of 2% will be applied for every day the essay is late (not counting weekends). Late essays can be handed in to the General Enquiries office of the English department (7 King's College Circle) or under the door to my office. If you leave your essay under my door, send me an email to tell me you have submitted the essay and make sure you have a copy of it in case your essay gets lost. Lateness penalties will be adjusted according to notes from doctors (for medical afflictions) or registrar offices (for domestic afflictions). No other extensions will be granted. All term work must be submitted at the latest on the last day of classes: April 9th.

Class schedule (subject to change)

Sept 9/11Introduction
Sept 16/18North and South (vol 1: 1-25)
Sept 23/25North and South (vol 2: 1-27)Quiz Sept 23
Sept 30/2Middlemarch (1-33)Quiz Sept 30
Oct 7/9Middlemarch (34-62)
Oct 14/16Middlemarch (63-Finale)
Oct 21/22Marcella (books 1-2: 35-315)Quiz Oct 21
Oct 28/30Marcella (books 3-4: 317-543)
Nov 4/6Vanity Fair (1-22)Quiz Nov 4
Nov 11/13Vanity Fair (23-46)
Nov 18/20Vanity Fair (47-67)Quiz Nov 18
Nov 25/27Barchester Towers (vol 1: 1-27)Quiz Nov 25
Dec 2/4Barchester Towers (vol 2: 28-53)Test Dec 4
Jan 6/8Jane Eyre (1-19)
Jan 13/15Jane Eyre (20-38)Quiz Jan 13
Jan 20/22Wuthering Heights (vol 1: 1-14)
Jan 27/29Wuthering Heights (vol 2: 1-20)Quiz Jan 27
Feb 3/5Bleak House (1-19)Quiz Feb 3
Feb 10/12Bleak House (20-42)
Feb 17/19Reading week
Feb 24/26Bleak House (43-67)Quiz Feb 24
Mar 2/4The Woman in White (epochs 1-2)Quiz Mar 2
Mar 9/11The Woman in White (epoch 3)
Mar 16/18Portrait of a Lady (all: optional)
Mar 23/25Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1-34)Quiz Mar 23
Mar 30/1Tess of the D'Urbervilles (35-59)
Apr 6/8Test April 6

Our reading divides roughly into the following modules:
Women and the social problem novel: North and South, Middlemarch, Marcella
Social satire: Vanity Fair, Barchester Towers
Religious criticism and the Gothic: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights
Social criticism (empire and family): Bleak House, The Woman in White
The new woman: Portrait of a Lady, Tess of the D'Urbervilles