English 231-03 syllabus
English 231: British literature 1800-present David Hennessee
Winter 2009 Office: 47-22-H, 756-6136
Section 03: TTH 4:10-6, 22-312 email@example.com
Office hours: MTWF 1-2. Also available by email, phone, and appointment
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
James Joyce, Dubliners
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the only fruit
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
"And they lived happily ever after." "They" more likely than not got married. As a device of narrative
closure, marriage is ubiquitous, and to sustain interest until the happy event occurs, literary texts often
describe obstacles to nuptial bliss. In this course, we will examine love and the marriage plot under
stress. We will read (and view) texts that question and probe the nature of love, and that complicate,
evade or even thwart the marriage plot.
In doing so, we will have three goals:
1.) to understand the socio-historical conditioning of (what might seem) timeless, natural dynamics of
love, sex, heterosexuality, and marriage;
2.) to examine how different literary forms shape ideas of love and the marriage;
3.) to use the marriage plot as a window through which to view cultural changes in British society and
formal changes in British literature, 1800-present.
More generally, the course offers a survey of some important texts in British literature of the last 200
years, whose often bizarre plots will hopefully prove enjoyable. Some lecture on historical context, a
few in-class screenings of film adaptations, more discussion.