"But why always Dorothea?"
When the narrator self-consciously questions her own focus on Dorothea, the central character of George Eliot's Middlemarch, we are made aware of the surprisingly fluid and nearly arbitrary nature of narrative. Stories can be about anyone, can be seen through any eyes, can be focused on any ends, and can be used for any purpose. But, of course, they aren't. What does it mean to see through someone else's eyes? What does it mean to know someone else's story?
Our whirlwind survey of the nineteenth century British novel will touch on its drama, its melodrama, its humor and its tragedy. We will read lengthy works that will occupy weeks if not months of your life and shorter ones that can be finished in a sitting. Regardless of whether the reading takes hours or months, these texts will fill your mind with the world itself and in some cases prove to be a trouble to your dreams.
- Suggested Topics for the Second Essay (PDF)
- Some Introductory Notes on Thomas Hardy (PDF)
- Literary Terms
- Some Definitions of the Novel (PDF)
- Some Theories of the Novel (PDF)
- Spoiler Alert! Middlemarch Genealogy (PDF)