ENGL 475.01 (s) 3 crs
Studies in Literary Genres: 18th-19th c. Novel

Dr. Stephan Flores (sflores@uidaho.edu)                                                      
Class meets 2:00-3:15pm TR   TLC 140                                                                  
http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~sflores/                                                    885-6156; 885-6147
Office hours: MW 1:30-2:30 p.m. & by appt.                                                 315 Commons

Note: This course satisfies the pre-1900 course requirement for undergraduate emphasis or for M.A. degree.

Course description: We’ll explore four highly regarded novels that depict young women, and also men, undergoing degrees of stress, duress, desire, and a range of possibilities to figure forth different lives, identities, relationships: Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1747-1748), Charlotte Brontë's Villette (1853 ), Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South (1854-55), and Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady (1881-1908). These novels engage with contexts of family and social/class relations, conditions inflected by sex and gender, and questions of national/transnational identities and alignments. The novels vary in tones, style, and modes of narration (Clarissa, for example, is structured through a series of letters so that we follow Clarissa's epistles and as well as the correspondence of other figures in her life). Emphasis on class discussion and consideration of a range of scholarship on these texts/contexts; written work includes brief discussion starter questions/comments, several Critical Analyses, and a Term Essay on a topic/novel of your choice.

Required texts--these specific editions required (not listed are selected secondary criticism for each novel and for these time periods, to be placed on library reserve and on Bblearn):

Richardson, Samuel. Clarissa: Or, The History of a Young Lady (1747-48) newly abridged version (Broadview Press, 2011). ISBN: 9781551114750 The Guardian newspaper compiled a list of the 100 greatest novels, with Clarissa listed at #6 with this comment: "One of the longest novels in the English language, but unputdownable. ""Clarissa is one of the towering masterpieces of the eighteenth century, and it is impossible to understand the literature of the period and the rise of the novel without it."—Thomas Keymer, University of Toronto. "Arguably the best novel published in Great Britain in the eighteenth century and an undisputed landmark of European literature."—Alberto Rivero, Marquette University

Brontë, Charlotte. Villette (1853 ) Oxford World Classics (Oxford UP, 2008). Eds. Herbert Rosengarten and Margaret Smith. Introduction and Notes by Tim Dolin. ISBN10: 0-19-953665-1 "I am only just returned to a sense of the real world about me, for I have been reading Villette, a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre." —George Eliot. Comments from this edition: "Lucy Snowe, in flight from an unhappy past, leaves England and finds work as a teacher in Madame Beck's school in 'Villette'. Strongly drawn to the fiery autocratic schoolmaster Monsieur Paul Emanuel, Lucy is compelled by Madame Beck's jealous interference to assert her right to love and be loved . . . . Villette (1853) is a cogent and dramatic exploration of a woman's response to the challenge of a constricting social environment. The novel deploys imagery comparable in power to that of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights , and it uses comedy—ironic and exuberant—in the service of an ultimately sombre vision." "Brontë fashions an autobiographical novel that is also a powerful examination of literary celebrity and female authorship in mid-Victorian England."

Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South (1854-55) Oxford World's Classics (Oxford UP, 2008). Ed. Angus Easson , introd. Sally Shuttleworth. ISBN10: 0-19-953700-3 "She tried to settle that most difficult problem for women, how much was to be utterly merged in obedience to authority, and how much might be set apart for freedom in working." Comments from this edition: "North and South is a novel about rebellion. Moving from the industrial riots of discontented millworkers through to the unsought passions of a middle-class woman, and from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny, it poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Through the story of Margaret Hale, the middle-class southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skillfully explores issues of class and gender in the conflict between Margaret's ready sympathy with the workers and her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton."

James, Henry. The Portrait of a Lady (1881, . . . 1908) Oxford World's Classics (Oxford UP, 2009). Ed. Roger Luckhurst. ISBN10: 0-19-921794-7 Jan Cohn comments: "In the hundred and more years since Isabel Archer first stepped onto the lawn at Gardencourt and into the history of American literature, The Portrait of a Lady has achieved the status of great American novel, centerpiece of the American literary canon, masterpiece. . . .between moments of light and darkness, Isabel travels far . . . ." A novel that can be compared historically with Dickens' Great Expectations and Eliot's Middlemarch—rich with thick description and depths." From the Oxford edition: In "the intoxicating worlds of Paris, Florence, and Rome, [Isabel's] fond illusions of self-reliance are twisted by the machinations of her friends and apparent allies. The Portrait of a Lady is at once a dramatic Victorian tale of betrayal and a wholly modern psychological study of a woman caught in a web of relations she only comes to understand . . . ."


1. Eight written Discussion Starters (two DSs on each novel): a thesis/problem-driven, question-posing response (approx. 200-250 words each) to some aspect of the texts and topics of study and discussion, focusing by turn on each of the novels and any secondary criticism listed for that next day's discussion. Discussion Starters present a means for you and the class to share enthusiasms and doubts as you delve into the text’s significance, methods, and effects. Each entry should include some summary/explanation of some aspect of the text(s) under discussion—that is, choose something you find important/useful/provocative, and comment on its significance; also include at some point (compose/derive) a thesis-sentence statement: the thesis-sentence presents a reasoned, interpretative, precise claim on some aspect of the text/theory in question, preferably with quote/citation to encapsulate your analysis and/or to use as a point of departure for what could become the basis for a longer exploration. No late entries —Discussion Starters with corresponding texts/due dates noted on schedule below, are due with entries posted on Bblearn no later than 11:00 pm the evening before the next day's class. Note that in general, for your second DS on each novel, you will have a choice of two dates that can be due—for instance, if for the week in question, you did not submit your second DS on Monday night, then your DS is due on Wednesday night. Come to class prepared to talk about your DS, and we’ll rotate responsibility for putting a spotlight on two or three DSs to facilitate discussion. Missing discussion-starter entries (including any missing DS entries on Bblearn) will be counted against your semester grade (see below).

2. Three Critical Analyses (each titled, 4-5 pp. for main body of essay excluding Works Cited page, double-spaced, 12 pt, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, MLA format): This assignment directs you to explore a significant issue and rhetorical/theoretical strategy/topic that you identify in Clarissa, in Villette, and in North and South, to include a significant citation of and reference to at least one of the critical essays available in folders on each novel on our course Bblearn site. Your incorporation of the secondary essay/criticism should, of course, be relevant to your topic, and thus inform your perspective in support, opposition, as point of departure, and so on. A sharply focused explanation and analysis may contain the kernel of a hypothesis that could serve as the cornerstone or shaping idea for the Term Essay. Your analysis can be quite "thesis-driven"—that is, you may find it effective to compose a thesis for your response that maps out for readers the engaging, important points that you want to develop—or you may prefer a more reflective, question and problem-posing approach. See schedule below for due dates, including directions to upload MS Word or RTF file to Bblearn by 10 pm the night before a hard copy is due in class.

3. Term Essay: 2700-3000+ words for body of essay (approximately 10-11 pages for undergraduates, and 12+ pages for graduate students, excluding Works Cited page), double-spaced, 12 pt, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, MLA format). This critical essay develops ideas prompted by our study, discussion, by recent scholarship, and by your perspectives. I shall attend to the ways that you select, define, and engage questions and contradictions, and to the clarity, imagination, and grace that you demonstrate in presenting your topic, (hypo)thesis, and argument, and the extent to which your work engages with, explains, and contributes to the larger 'conversation' of scholarship/history on the topic and text or question under analysis. I do not always expect essays to conclude by 'solving' such problems or by 'proving' your thesis; I hope that you address interesting topics (questions for debate, interpretation, and analysis) in thoughtful and useful ways. Note: You may draw upon and revise material from prior written work (DS entries or Critical Analyses) to form part of this essay; do not, however, cobble together two or three assignments, repeating word for word to form this larger assignment. Please feel invited to confer with me during the writing process.

4. Participation: Please take advantage of opportunities to share your insights and to listen and reply to others' ideas. I hope that questions and discussions will enable you to move the class in directions you find most helpful, give you opportunities to develop critical skills through collaboration, and provide for a productive, interesting exchange of perspectives among the class. I may form small groups from time to time, primarily for sharing conversation over Discussion-Starters and Critical Analyses. You should be prepared to enter into and perhaps facilitate discussion on the days that you submit DSs or CAs.

5. All required work is due as specified on the due date/time—work turned in late will be graded accordingly. Required graded written work will be downgraded one notch (for example, B+ to B, converted to points for each assignment) for each weekday late (not just days classes meet but counting just one day for a weekend). Work submitted more than a week late will not be accepted. I will grant short extensions for medical and family emergencies—but talk with me as soon as possible to request an extension. Always keep copies of your work.

6. Attendance: One to two absences will not affect your semester grade; a third absence will lower your semester total by six points, with a six-point reduction for each additional absence (four absences=minus 12 points, five absences = minus 18 points); six or more absences is sufficient cause for you to receive a failing grade for the course, regardless of your semester point total. All absences will be counted—excused or not—if something extraordinary occurs, talk to me.

7. Grades: Critical Analysis on Clarissa (30 pts); Critical Analysis on Villette (30 pts); Critical Analysis on North and South (30 pts); Term Essay (120 pts). These required assignments add up to a maximum of 210 points. Thus 189-210 points equals an A, 168-188 equals a B, 147-167 equals a C, 126-146 equals a D, and anything below 126 equals an F. I shall also reserve a potential five bonus points based on my perceptions of the strength of your participation and efforts over the semester; in addition, late, incomplete/insufficient Discussion-Starter entries will be counted against your semester grade, with the loss of seven points for each missing/late, or incomplete entry, to a maximum loss of 56 points.

8. Office hours. I encourage you to confer with me—especially before assignments are due—to talk about your interests, intentions, and writing strategies. If you cannot make my regular hours (in 315 Commons), we’ll arrange another time. I also welcome communicating with you by E-mail (sflores@uidaho.edu).

9. Use of laptops and cell phones during class is prohibited, except on days when DSs or CAs are due; that is, occasional use of laptops—typically for group work and to access the online components of the class—may be permitted with my approval.

10. Do not submit work for this class that you have submitted or intend to submit for a grade in another course; as always, be careful to cite anyone else's work that you draw upon. See highlighted link for brief guidelines on plagiarism, from English 101.

Additional reference sources for further study/research: As noted on elsewhere on this course site, I have provided selected bibliographies of research on each novel, and also retrieved/placed some articles and book chapter excerpts in folders on Bblearn, and will put some resources on library reserve. Do not rely upon or incorporate research from non-refereed, non-“scholarly” sources or publications.

I encourage undergraduates in the course to keep pace as best you can with each of the readings/texts specified in the schedule below; I recognize that at times you may slip behind pace for particular days and texts (especially the secondary criticism), and that it may be the case at busy end of semester that not every undergraduate will manage to finish the final novel, James's densely written and lengthy The Portrait of a Lady. I expect graduate students to keep pace with the schedule, and of course, hope that all students find these complex works compelling in different ways and that you find good ways to deepen and to develop your own perspectives, interests and analytic/communicative and imaginative strengths as you encounter these "other" worlds, within and beyond the "self" and with one another.

English 475.01/Flores/Fall 2012 Schedule/Syllabus

Note that from time to time I may use the discussion threads on Bblearn to offer a heads up discussion starter prior to our class meeting, to focus our attention on particular pages/passages so that you know how we may concentrate our work/attention on specific issues, moments . . . for example, on p.64, Anna wonders if Lovelace has seen "more than I have seen; more than you think could be seen; --more than I believe you yourself know, or else you would have let me know it" (64). What is Anna suggesting/asserting at the end of Letter X, and how does Clarissa reply in Letter XI?





Richardson, Clarissa (9-20; 29-69)

Clarissa (69-126)


Clarissa (126-205, note that Vol. 1 ends p. 135)); Joy Kyunghae Lee, "The Commodification of Virtue: Chastity and the Virginal Body in Richardson's Clarissa (1995, PDF on Bblearn in Clarissa folder)

Clarissa (206-295, note that Vol. II ends p. 232)


Clarissa (296-397); Elizabeth Bergen Brophy, Ch. 3 on Clarissa (1987, see PDF on Bblearn); DS DUE on Bblearn Discussion board by 11pm the night before, on 9-3-12

Clarissa (397-446)


Clarissa (446-546); Scott Paul Gordon, “Disinterested Selves: Clarissa and the Tactics of Sentiment” (1997, PDF on Bblearn)

Clarissa (546-596)


Clarissa (596-696); Julie Park, “’I shall enter her heart’: Fetishizing Feeling in Clarissa” (2005, PDF on Bblearn); one DS DUE on Bblearn Monday or Wednesday by 11pm, that is, on either 9-17 or 9-19

Clarissa (696-722); Hina Nazar, “Judging Clarissa’s Heart” (2012, PDF on Bblearn)


Critical Analysis on Clarissa due on Monday 9-24 by 10pm (upload to Bblearn in MS Word format or RTF —bring hard copy to class on Tuesday); Brontë, Villette (5-105)

Villette (106-164); Audrey Jaffe, "Modern and Postmodern Theories of Prose Fiction" (2002, PDF on Bblearn, in left side column/folder for General Criticism/Theory)


Villette (165-265); John Hughes, “The Affective World of Charlotte Brontë's Villette” (2000, PDF on Bblearn); DS due by 11pm on 10-1

Villette (253-306)


Villette (307-422, note that Vol. IV ends p.408); Gretchen Braun, “’A Great Break in the Common Course of Confession’: Narrating Loss in Charlotte Brontë's Villette (2011, PDF on Bblearn); one DS DUE on Bblearn Monday or Wednesday by 11pm, that is, on either 10-8 or 10-10

Villette (423-471)


Villette (472-496); Kate Lawson and Lynn Shakinovsky. “Fantasies of National Identification in Villette.”  (2009, PDF on Bblearn); also recommended: Russell Poole, “Victorian Professionalism and Charlotte Brontë's Villette.” In A Companion to the Victorian Novel.  Eds. William Baker and Kenneth Womack.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood P, 2002.  263-273. 

Critical Analysis on Villette due on Wednesday 10-17 by 10pm (upload to Bblearn in MS Word format or RTF —bring hard copy to class on Thursday) Gaskell, North and South (5-52)


North and South (53-156); Jill L. Matus, "Mary Barton and North and South." (2007, PDF on Bblearn); DS DUE by 11pm on 10-22

North and South (157-206)



North and South (207-342); Wendy Parkins, “Women, mobility and modernity in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.” (2004, PDF on Bblearn); one DS DUE on Bblearn Monday or Wednesday by 11pm, that is, on either 10-29 or 10-31

North and South (343-436); Anne Longmuir, “Consuming Subjects: Women and the Market in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South." (2012, to be made available as PDF on Bblearn)


Critical Analysis on North and South due on Monday 11-5 by 10pm (upload to Bblearn in MS Word format or RTF—bring hard copy to class on Tuesday);James, The Portrait of a Lady (3-136)

The Portrait of a Lady (137-193)


The Portrait of a Lady (194-324); Patrick Fessenbecker, “Freedom, Self-Obligation, and Selfhood in Henry James” (2011, PDF on Bblearn); DS DUE by 11pm on 11-12

The Portrait of a Lady (325-385)


The Portrait of a Lady (386-506); Tessa Hadley, Henry James and the Imagination of Pleasure (2002, PDF on Bblearn, intro., chapter one); DS DUE either 11-26 or may be deferred to next week, on 12-3

The Portrait of a Lady (507-551)


The Portrait of a Lady (552-582); Elaine Pigeon, Queer Impressions: Henry James’s Art of Fiction. (2005, see intro. and chapter one, PDF on Bblearn; recommended/intriguing: see also J. Hillis Miller, Literature as Conduct: Speech Acts in Henry James (2005, see introduction and chapter two, PDF on Bblearn)


 Conclude discussion of The Portrait of a Lady; review semester; share progress/topics for Term Essays


Term Essay due no later than today, hard copy by 4:30pm to me in 315 Commons (I’ll be in office from 1:30-4:30pm).





Course Learning Outcomes: English 475
• Introduces students to four major authors (two male, two female authors) and novels from the mid-eighteenth to late-nineteenth century, including different modes of narration and recurring thematic interests of intersections among class relations, gender roles, within narrative plots of sexual relationships, pursuit, marriage as well as critical analyses/reception of these novels
• Reinforces close reading, research skills, and analytical writing strategies from 300-level courses
• Help students investigate how these literary texts shape and reflect their particular contexts, including differences in treatment of issues across the time period covered
• Helps students engage with and develop investment in the novels and related texts/criticism—using a range of assignments and resources, including online writing/discussions
• Helps students engage more thoroughly in scholarly conversations about literature—building from their research skills and use of evidence and related texts in previous classes to position themselves in dialogue with critical discussions
• Requires, and directs students in ways to write longer sustained analytical essays (with substantial research and depth) that evidence close reading of the literature to include original, well-developed theses/argument, engagement with critical sources, and ability to ask meaningful questions of the literature and its construction. Students are required to sustain an analysis of 10 or more pages in the Term Essay, and write approximately 15 additional pages of analysis during the semester (including three Critical Analyses on three novels as well as eight concise Discussion Starters). Evaluation of students' written work includes instructor's use of a rubric to identify specific areas assessed
• Supports exploration of theoretical perspectives on literary and cultural studies, enabling students to reflect upon, compose, and articulate with greater sophistication the ways that they engage with critical theory and practice
•Helps students understand applications of English studies with references to contemporary events/situations that show similar problems depicted in the novels recurring in present day life and social relations
•Expects and monitors that students' writing exhibits correct usage of grammar and of MLA formats and citation conventions

Evaluation/Assessment Rubric for Instructor's Written Responses to Critical Analyses and Term Essay, along a scale of Excellent to Weak, with specific comments to supplement comments/feedback on the texts of the essays themselves:
1. Strength and clarity of (hypo)thesis/focus/introduction
2. Intellectual/conceptual strength and persuasiveness of main claim as well as ensuing argument/logic/premises/critical method/theory/ideas
3. Cohesive and coherent development, logical organization, including well-structured paragraphs with clear points and compelling, specific support/evidence
4. Analysis of text’s/topic’s relevant cultural/historical contexts and if specified, related scholarship/criticism; text’s rhetorical methods, structure
5. Topic’s depth/complexity, including recognition of conflicts/contradictions
6. Significance/ conclusion
8. Effective sentences, syntax, verbs, diction, punctuation, complexity, and suitable style: academic, critical, appropriate to your understanding of the materials/subjects
9. MLA style—parenthetical citation of sources, works cited; format; spelling ungraded but noted

Additional resources:

For history on the British novel, you could start with The Columbia History of the British Novel (Columbia UP, 1994), ed. John Richetti, available via UI library in an online electronic edition. This anthology of essays includes William Warner's essay "Licensing pleasure : literary history and the novel in early modern Britain," Toni Bowers's essay " Sex, lies, and invisibility : amatory fiction from the Restoration to mid- century," and James Turner's "Richardson and his circle."

Full text of Clarissa online (Third ed., 1751)

Adam Yaghi's Summary/Response to Lois Bueler's chapter on Clarissa (from past course on full novel)

Clarissa bibliography/resources

Richardson's Revisions

Some ongoing page notes to Clarissa (keeping track of stuff, I will update this soon with page references to our abridged edition)

Other possibilities for abridged path/guide to Clarissa (for anyone who at some point wishes to 'tackle' the full novel but leaving room for own abridgements)

BBC History site, multiple brief articles on Victorian Britain, including a succinct overview essay

The Victorian Web [take a look, less authoritative, perhaps, than published articles but handy way to browse around the period and its authors and culture]

Essays (published journal articles) on Villette

Articles/book chapters on North and South

Articles/book chapters on The Portrait of a Lady

Advice and Resources on Writing Critical Essays

Summary/Overview of Perspectives in Critical Theory (I may continue to update/revise this)

Lessons on Style (general advice/quited dated handout but perhaps worth looking over) [pdf]

Quick Advice on Punctuation (also dated) [pdf]

Online Writing Center Resources (from writing essays to grammar and usage advice):


Review Guide to Using MLA Style for Citing Sources

Advice from Jack Lynch on writing essays and on grammar/style:

Getting an A on an English Paper

Guide to Grammar and Style