Syllabus (Fall, 2017) – 19th-Century SF

Science, Science Fiction, and Popular Genres in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Week 1
Frankenstein
(Aug. 29)
Week 2
The March of Intellect (Sep. 5)
Week 3
Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
(Sep. 12)
Week 4
Voyage of the Beagle
(Sep. 19)
Week 5
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Sep. 26)
Week 6
Erewhon
(Oct. 3)
Week 7
Looking Backward
(Oct. 10)
Week 8
News from Nowhere
(Oct. 17)
Week 9
She
(Oct. 24)
Week 10
Of One Blood
(Oct. 31)
Week 11
Kindred
(Nov. 7)
Week 12
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Time Machine (Nov. 14)
Thanksgiving
Break
Week 13
Dracula
(Nov. 28)
Week 14 
The Picture of Dorian Gray
(Dec. 5)
Course Requirements

*

Week 1 (Aug. 29) 

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

*

Week 2 (Sep. 5)

  • Thomas Love Peacock, Crotchet Castle (1831), Ch. I “The Villa” and Ch. II “The March of Mind” (Project Guttenberg etext)
  • Charles Dickens, “Full Report of the First Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything,” Bentley’s Miscellany 2 (Oct., 1837): 397-413 and “Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything,” Bentley’s Miscellany 4 (Sept.., 1838): 209-27 (Brightspace)
  • Edgar Allen Poe, “How To Write a Blackwood Article,” in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and Related Tales (1838), ed. J. Gerald Kennedy (Oxford World’s Classic), pp. 212-22
  • Alan Rauch, Useful Knowledge: The Victorians, Morality, and the March of Intellect (Brightspace)
  • Jay Clayton, Ch. 3, “Undisciplined Cultures: Peacock, Mary Somerville, and Mr. Pickwick,” in Charles Dickens in Cyberspace, pp. 81-104 (Brightspace)

*

Week 3 (Sep. 12)

  • Edgar Allen Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and Related Tales (1838), ed. J. Gerald Kennedy (Oxford World’s Classic).
  • Hawthorne, “The Birthmark” (1843) and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844) (Brightspace)
  • Joan (Colin) Dayan, “Amorous Bondage, Poe, Ladies, and Slaves” (Brightspace)
  • Dana Nelson, “Ethnocentrism Decentered: Colonial Motives in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” in The Word in Black and White: Reading “Race” in American Literature, 1838-1867 (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Amanda Wicks presentation

*

Week 4 (Sep. 19) 

  • Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, available at Project Gutenberg. The HTML text is not as easy to read, but the Kindle version is fine; if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a free reader from Amazon. Also, new and used copies of The Voyage of the Beagle are widely available in bookstores and from online vendors.

Darwin revised the Voyage extensively for later editions. The online text is the final edition, but you should feel free to use any edition you like. Because the first edition has different chapter numbers, I am including the first items in Darwin’s analytic Table of Contents for each chapter to help with identifying the relevant chapters. Read the following chapters.

There is a helpful GIS map of the Beagle’s route here. It’s fun to follow the course of the Beagle as you read along.

  • Ch. 1 – Porto Praya (read beginning through the February 29 section, 1832)
  • Ch. 2, Rio de Janeiro (read from the beginning of the chapter through the April 14 section)
  • Ch. 3 – Monte Video, Maldonado (read from the beginning of the chapter through the first part of the July 26, 1832 section–end with Darwin’s comment on the “insignificant piles on the summit of the Sierra de las Animas.”)
  • Ch. 5, Bahia Blanca (read the first section, ending with “many and large quadrupeds,” then skip to the final pages of the chapter that tells of General Rosas’s genocidal campaign against native peoples–search for the phrase “the troops of Rosas and the wild Indians.”)
  • Ch. 8, Excursion to Colonia del Sacramient (read the last few pages of this chapter, beginning with the line, “It is impossible to reflect on the changed state of the American continent without the deepest astonishment” and continuing to the end of the chapter.)
  • Ch. 10 – Tierra del Fuego
  • Ch. 14 – San Carlos, Chiloe
    (read from February 12, 1835 to the end)
  • Ch. 15 – Valparaiso, Portillo Pass
  • Ch. 17 – Galapagos Archipelago
  • Ch. 21 – Mauritius (read July 19, 1836 to the end)

 

  • Andrea Barrett, stories from Ship Fever (1996)
    • “Rare Birds”
    • “Birds with No Feathers”
    • “Soroche.”
  • A. S. Byatt, “Morpho Eugenia,” in Angels and Insects (1992)
  • Cannon Schmitt, “Introduction,” Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America (2009) (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Jennifer Gutman presentation

*

Week 5 (Sep. 26)

  • Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Excerpts from Devin Griffiths, The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature between the Darwins (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Elena Britos presentation

*

Week 6 (Oct. 3) 

  • Samuel Butler, Erewhon (1872), ed. Peter Mudford (Penguin)
  • George Eliot, “Shadows of the Coming Race,” from Impressions of Theophrastus Such pp. 89-92 (online text)
  • Fredric Jameson, “Varieties of the Utopian” (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Kira Braham presentation

*

Week 7 (Oct. 10) 

  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1888), ed. Matthew Beaumont (Oxford World ‘s Classics)
  • Phil Wegner, Imaginary Communities Intro and Chapter 1 (Brightspace)
  • Eleanor Courtemanche, “Satire and the Inevitability Effect: The Structure of Utopian Fiction from Looking Backward to Portlandia” (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Alex Jones presentation

*

Week 8 (Oct. 17)

  • William Morris’s News from Nowhere (1890), ed. David Leopold (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Thomas H. Huxley, “Science and Culture” (1880) (online text)
  • Matthew Arnold, “Literature and Science” (1882) (online text)
  • Jose Munoz, from Cruising Utopia (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight) –
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Cameron Clark presentation

*

Week 9 (Oct. 24)

  • H. Ryder Haggard, She (1887), ed. Patrick Brantlinger (Penguin)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)

*

Week 10 (Oct. 31)

  • Pauline Hopkins, Of One Blood (1903). Introduction Deborah E. McDowell (Washington Square Press)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Magana Kabugi presentation

*

Week 11 (Nov. 7) – 

  • Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Lucy Kim presentation

*

Week 12 (Nov. 14) 

  • Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), ed. Roger Luckhurst (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895), ed. Patrick Parrinder (Penguin)
  • Ambrose Bierce, “Moxon’s Master” (1899) (Brightspace)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Katie Mullins presentation

*

Thanksgiving Break

Week 13 (Nov. 28)

  • Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897), ed. Maurice Hindle (Penguin)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Marianne Zumberge presentation

*

Week 14 (Dec. 5) 

  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), ed. Joseph Bristow (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Blog post (due the Sunday before the class, 12:00 midnight)
    • Comments (due Tuesday morning before class)
    • Marcie Casey presentation

*

Course Requirements

  • Blog entry (1000 word maximum)
    • Your blog post will be evaluated, using the following criteria: Does the author seem deeply engaged with the topic? Is the blog entry thoughtful, creative, offbeat, or humorous? Is the entry coherent and well-suited to its apparent purpose?  Did the author  carefully explain any literary terminology, theoretical vocabulary, philosophical concepts, or other specialized disciplinary knowledge?
    • Comment on at least three blog posts by other class members during the semester
  • PowerPoint presentation on the same week as your blog post
    • Your PowerPoint will be judged on its visual elegance, verbal economy, and ability to engage the audience.
    • Your presentation should stem from your own research interests and reflect an interdisciplinary, trans-period, trans-genre, or trans-national perspective.
  • Class participation
  • Final project: In lieu of the traditional research paper, students will be asked to create digital media or digital humanities projects, a conference paper (potentially, in one’s own field), or a general interest feature piece for a venue such as Public Books or The Los Angeles Review of Books.
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