Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was one of the nineteenth century’s best loved and most influential novelists.
What was the reason for his wide appeal? What did he have to say to Victorian readers? What did he say that still matters to us? What were the events and social forces that shaped his writing? How did he fit into, benefit from, and help perpetuate the structures of Victorian society? Where and why did he find fault with those structures? What were the sources of his imagination? What were his unique imaginative gifts? What is his place in the history of literature and culture?
In this course, you’ll decide, as a class, which of these questions to ask — or whether it would be better to ask other questions altogether. And you’ll decide how best to answer the questions that you do ask.
Because this is your course on Dickens.
The course will require you to research and write individually and in collaboration with others. You’ll write conventional essays — but not in entirely conventional ways — and use less formal kinds of communication, such as blog posts, to share and test ideas. You’ll also work collaboratively on a project that uses other means than the written word to collect information and develop insights.
You’ll need your laptop for this course. Bring it to every class meeting.
You may have to click in the document to bring up the scrollbar. If you have trouble reading the syllabus here, you can always find it here or in our shared Google Drive folder.