Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016 12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A course starting today with Brontë-related content:
Institute of English Studies
School of Advanced Study
University of London

London Rare Books School 2016
The Material History of the English Novel, 1800-1914
Course tutor: Professor Simon Eliot (IES)

The course aims to set some well-known and thoroughly-studied English novels in a significantly new context. The novels to be studied are: Northanger Abbey, Jane Eyre, Bleak House, Dracula, and Howard's End. None of these novels was written for readers in the twenty-first century so, in order to move students away from the Whigish view adopted in many English departments, we need to understand how contemporaries might have read these books. This requires that students understand not only the broad historical context, but also significant details of the material environment in which those first readers lived, and the ways in which books and newspapers were produced, delivered - and read in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The novels chosen will variously illustrate the impact of newspapers transported using newly-macdamised roads; of the problems of conducting life in candlelight and gaslight; of urban pollution and intramural burials; of information storage and retrieval; of the impact of new communication technologies such as railways, the telegraph, the phonograph, the typewriter, and the telephone; and of the transformation of English landscape and modes of communication by the introduction of the internal combustion engine and tar macadam roads. All this will be brought together by a study of the history of communication as expressed in the production, distribution, and consumption of the novel in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.


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