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Studies in Victorian Literature: Literature and Empire

Course Description

In the nineteenth century, Britain expanded and consolidated its hold on overseas territories, becoming the world’s preeminent superpower. As a result, Britain was integrally tied to foreign cultures and economies. The nation’s very identity came to be defined in terms of its imperial activities. As the people of Britain grappled with the implications of their nation’s global expansion project, the empire served as a pressing topic for political commentators, visual artists, and popular writers. This course will introduce students to nineteenth-century literary representations of empire, as we try to answer a number of questions about the connections between imperialism and Victorian popular culture: How were the people and places of empire represented to the British public? What were the chief attractions and anxieties associated with imperial commitments? How does literature help construct political and ideological realities?

Week One:
Imperial Overview
Lecture The First and Second British Empires
(A Nineteenth-Century Timeline)
Texts Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden"
"MacDermott's War Song" (Text and Sound File)
Reginald Heber,"From Greenland's Icy Mountains" (Text and Sound File)
William Greg, "Shall We Retain Our Colonies?"
Week Two:
The Drama of Empire
Lectures Australia: From Gaol to Gold
In the Footsteps of Crusoe: The Victorian Theatrical Robinsonade
Texts Charles Reade, It Is Never Too Late to Mend (1865)
J.M. Barrie, The Admirable Crichton (1902)
(J.M. Barrie Site with pictures, video, and audio records of Barrie)

Week Three:
War and Domesticity

Lecture Crisis in the Crimea
(The Crimean War Research Society)
(Mary Seacole)
Texts Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole (1857)
Harriet Martineau, "On the Death of Florence Nightingale" (1910)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1854)
Report Ann Laura Stoler, "Cultivating Bourgeois Bodies and Racial Selves"
Week Four:
Lecture Uniting the Empire: Canals, Wires, and Rails
Text Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days (1873)
Report Mary Louise Pratt, "Narrating the Anti-Conquest"
Week Five:
From Cairo to the Cape
Lecture The Scramble for Africa
(The Scramble for Africa)
Texts Selections from Richard Burton, Wanderings in West Africa (1861)
(Sir Richard F. Burton on the Web)
Selections from Mary Kinglsey, Travels in West Africa (1897)
(Mary Kingsley at the Royal African Society)
Report Annie Coombs, "The Spectacle of Empire"
Week Six:
Travelers' Tales


Anthony Trollope, The West Indies and the Spanish Main (1858)
(Bibliography and commentaries on Trollope's work)
William Makepeace Thackeray, From Cornhill to Cairo (1845)
Richard Burton, Goa, and the Blue Mountains (1858)
David Livingstone, et al., The Lfe and African Explorations of David Livingstone (1874)
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle (1839)
(The Complete Works of Charles Darwin)
Anna Leonowens, An English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870)
(Anna Leonowens--Fact or Fiction?)
(Anna Leonowens at Women's History)
Emily Eden, Up the Country (1866)
Robert Louis Stevenson, In the South Seas (1896)
(The Robert L. Stevenson Website)
Francis Galton, The Art of Travel (1855)
Frederick Marryat, The Mission; or, Scenes in Africa (1845)
Week Seven:
Imperial Adventure Fiction
Text H. Rider Haggard, She (1887)
(Film Adaptations of Haggard's Novels at IMDB)
Report Graham Dawson, "The Adventure Quest and Its Cultural Imaginaries"
Week Eight:
The Great Game
Lecture The Jewel in the Crown
(The Rudyard Kipling Society)
Text Rudyard Kipling, Kim (1901)
(Information on 1950 Film Adaptation of Kim)
Report Thomas Richards, "Archive and Utopia"
Week Nine:
Briton and/as Other
Texts Rudyard Kipling, Kim (Continued)
George Bernard Shaw, Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1899)
(Shaw Society)
Charles Dickens, "The Noble Savage"
Report Parama Roy, "Oriental Exhibits"
Week Ten:
The Indian "Mutiny"
Lecture India in 1857-8
(The British Press and the Indian Mutiny)

(Description of Events of 1857)
(Parallel Presentation of Indian and British views of the "Mutiny")
Texts Dion Boucicault, Jessie Brown (1857)
("Leaves from a Dramatist's Diary," 1889)
("Jessie's Dream a Lucknow": a Broadside Ballad)
("Bagpipes in War")
Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Minute on Indian Education" (1835)
Karl Marx, "The Indian Revolt" (1857)
Christina Rossetti, "The Round Tower at Jhansi"
Alfred Comyn Lyall, "Rajpoot Rebels"
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Defense of Lucknow"
Reports Nancy Paxton, "Mobilizing Chivalry"
Claudia Klaver, "Domesticity under Siege"
Week Eleven:
Crimes of Empire
Lecture Nabobs and Bungalows: Anglo-Indian Life
(Hobson-Jobson, the Anglo-Indian Dictionary)
Texts Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four (1890)
Tom Taylor, Up at the Hills (1860)
Flora Annie Steel, from The Complete Indian Housekeeper (1888)
Report Yumna Siddiqi, "The Cesspool of Empire"
Week Twelve:
At the Heart of the Empire
Lecture Metropolitan Spectacles of Empire
("Imperial Views, Colonial Subjects: Victorian Periodicals and the Empire")
Texts Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
T.N. Mukherjee, from Observations on the Indian and Colonial Exhibition (1889)
Joseph Salter, from The East in the West (1895)
Reports Antoinette Burton, "Making a Spectacle of Empire"
Ruth Lindeborg, "The 'Asiatic' and the Boundaries of Englishness"
Week Thirteen:
The Empire Strikes Back
Lecture From She to Dracula: Late-VictorianAnxieties of Reverse-Colonization
Text Bram Stoker, Dracula (Continued)
Report Stephen Arata, "The Occidental Tourist: Stoker and Reverse-Colonization"
Week Fourteen:
Poetry of Empire
Lecture From the Pulpit to the Music-Hall: The Empire in Poetry and Song
(Poetry of the Crimean and Boer Wars)
Texts Thomas Hood, "I'm Going to Bombay"
Richard Cheviniux Trench, "Lines Written on the First Tidings of the Cabul Masacres"
John Shehan, "The Campaign of the Sutlej"
Eliza Cook, "The Englishman"
Punch, "The Jingo-Englishman"
Thomas Hardy, "War Poems"
Charles Kingsley, "The Mango Tree"
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Epilogue to the Queen"
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition by the Queen"
William Rossetti, "Emigration"
Douglas Sladen, "Mrs. Watson. A Queensland Hero"
Alfred Austin, "Henry Barlte Edward Frere. Born 1815. Died 1884"
Oscar Wilde, "Ave Imperatrix"
Rudyard Kipling, "The Widow at Windsor"
Rudyard Kipling, "A Song of the English"
Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional"
Lewis Morris, "The Imperial Institute. An Ode"
Reports Penny Summerfield, "Patriotism and Empire"
Steve Attridge, "Popular Poetry and the Boer War"
Week Fifteen:
Presentations of Final Projects
Week Sixteen:
Final Projects Due

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