Professor: Dr. D. F. Felluga

Death and the Nineteenth Century

Possible Course Parameters: Nineteenth-Century Literature, Literary Genres, Theme: Death

Course Description

This course will function as an overview of literature from the Romantic and Victorian periods; however, the course will also have a thematic crux that will serve to organize our discussions. Each of the works we will analyze deal with the issue of mortality, although in often strikingly different ways. Since many of the authors we will read experienced the death of a loved one, we can also begin to explore not only the relationship of literature to "reality" but the difficulty of distinguishing between. Some of the questions raised may include: What is the relationship between literature and mourning? Does poetry deal with death differently than does the novel? What is the relationship of death to narrative? This thematic crux will also lead us to issues specific to the nineteenth century, including the sublime, the Victorian reworking of Romantic ideals, the loss of religious faith, the power of science, gothicism, and self-sacrifice.

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Last Revised: August 4, 1997

Images courtesy of D Creelma