Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023

Course Description

What do you think of when you hear the term "Victorian Literature"? For many, this period of literary history has become synonymous with stories of corseted women trying to get married on a quaint estate in the English countryside, a world far removed from our frenetic, mobile, and highly globalized lives. Yet the Victorian era actually witnessed the development and codification of many of the genres that continue to shape storytelling worldwide: the Gothic, melodrama, romance, science fiction, and historical fiction. This section of “The Victorian Period” will explore how the genres of modern storytelling developed across the British empire between the years of 1837 and 1901 and subsequently proliferated over time and across the globe. While centering on work produced in the nineteenth century, each unit will conclude with a more contemporary work that illustrates the genre’s afterlife. Assigned materials will include fiction, drama, and films by Charlotte Bronté, Victoria Cross, Rabindranath Tagore, and Tayeb Salih (the Gothic); Dion Boucicault, Elizabeth Robins, Thomas Hardy, Amit Sen, and Mahasweta Devi (melodrama); Alexandre Dumas Fils, Ogai Mori, and Park Chan-wook (romance); Marie Corelli, Samuel Butler, Liang Qichao, and Witi Ihimaera (science fiction); and George Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson, Wilson Harris, and the creators of Netflix series The Crown (historical fiction).