8:224 (Fall 2004)
Professor Florence Boos

This course will trace the development of major issues, motifs, genres, and artistic preoccupations in British literature of the fin de siècle and the period directly preceding the first “world war.” In the process, we will give attention to late-Victorian poetics, early stirrings of what critics came to call “modernism,” and new forms of social criticism, utopian literature and working-class cultural expression. We will also view a number of Victorian paintings and designs, and examine Kelmscott and other fine press books and illustrations.

I will ask students registered in the course to submit weekly web postings, and prepare a 20 page critical paper or two shorter ones.

Fiction and the Social World:

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda;
George Gissing, New Grub Street;
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure;
Dorothy Richardson, The Pilgrimage (2 books).

Art, Romance, and Vision:

Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean;
William Morris, “True and False Society,” “The Society of the Future,” News from Nowhere;
Vernon Lee, Supernatural Tales;
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey; and
essays by Frances Power Cobbe, Friedrich Engels, Mona Caird, Oscar Wilde, Jane Clapperton, Arthur Symons and others.


Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Fields, Mary Coleridge, Alice Meynell, Oscar Wilde, Amy Levy, W. E. Henley, Rosamund Marriot Watson, A. E. Housman, Lionel Johnson, William Butler Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte Mew, Marion Angus, and Violet Jacob.

Ordinary Life:

Working-class memoirs, including The Christian Watt Papers, and Celtic songs from Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica.

Short Fiction:

Stories and novellas by Margaret Oliphant, George Egerton, Olive Schreiner, Flora Steele, Rudyard Kipling, Violet Jacob, and Neil Gunn.



Instructor: Florence Boos, 319 English Philosophy Building
Office hour: Tuesday 4-5 and by appointment
Phone, e: 335-0434, 338-4383 (answering machine), florence-boos@uiowa.edu

Texts: (in IMU Bookstore)

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
George Gissing, New Grub Street
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean
William Morris, News from Nowhere
Thomas Collins and Vivienne Rundle, eds., Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry
Herbert Tucker, ed., A Companion to Victorian Culture
handouts for Christian Watt Papers, Celtic songs, any poetry not included in Broadview anthology, several critical articles or book chapters

Our class webpage, twist.lib.uiowa.edu/latevict, contains pages for “study questions” and “resources.” The latter contains bibliographies, art galleries, sample comps lists, links to Victorian sites and other materials (for a fuller version, see /~english/faculty/boos/links.html).
You are asked to post to the discussion page every other week, for a total of 7 roughly two page commentaries during the term. (Please number and title your postings, e. g. posting no. 1, Point-of-View in Daniel Deronda). Some of these postings, at least, should draw on outside sources (painting, book from special collections, critical article, periodical) and at least three should respond in some way to the posting of another graduate student.

You may write two essays of 12+ pages each or one longer essay of +/- 25 pages which develops a sustained discussion or critical argument. You are welcome to discuss the topic/s and its/their organization with me. If you submit two essays, one should come in before spring break; if you choose the single-paper option, you should submit a title, abstract, bibliography and rough outline directly after spring break. If you hand in a rough draft a week or more before the essay is due, I’ll give preliminary suggestions and comments. During finals week, in lieu of an official exam, we will have a class session in which students describe their respective projects.


January 20-22 Introduction; George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (bk. I)

January 27-29 Daniel Deronda, bks. II-V

February 3-5 Daniel Deronda, bks. VI-VIII

February 10-12 poetry: Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Wreck of the Deutschland"

February 17-19 Amy Levy, Mary Coleridge, Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper)

February 24-26 George Gissing, New Grub Street

March 2-4 Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean

March 9-11 William Morris, News from Nowhere, Morris essays, “The Society of the Future,” “True and False Society”

spring break (suggested reading Jude the Obscure)
after break, annotated bibliography, abstract and brief outline for paper

March 23-25 Morris slides/Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure

March 30 Jude the Obscure

April 1 trip to special collections

April 6-8 Jude the Obscure

April 13-15 Christian Watt Papers; Celtic songs

April 20-22 poems: W. H. Henley, Thomas Hardy

May 4-6 poems: W. B. Yeats, Charlotte Mew

finals week: last meeting for brief summary of papers; essay due