E s379M • London: The Novel, the Museum, and the Street (OXFORD)
Restricted to Participants in the Oxford Summer Program!
This course will focus on representative nineteenth- and twentieth century novels located in London with the aim of exploring how they both depict and construct this imperial and global city. In exploring urban geographies within the novel, we will consider questions of how class and race stratify and divide the city, how gender and sexuality structure the relation between public and private space, and the relation between the country and the city. (The course will thus coordinate well with Lisa Moore's course.) We will begin with Charles Dickens's Bleak House, one of the most famous London novelist's focus on urban poverty and bureaucracy. Then we'll move on to Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray (and a discussion of the London theatre, the Wilde trials, and the city as site of sexual sensationalism and scandal) and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (and the Bloomsbury group and modernist and Bohemian London). We'lll conclude with Zadie Smith's White Teeth in order to consider London's contemporary status as a global city of migrants.
One aim of the course will be to explore what it means to be a tourist and how we learn about culture and history by visiting actual sites rather than just reading about them. In addition to field trips in which we visit the neighborhoods represented in the novels, we will explore what it means to visit a city (or read a novel) in search of historical memory and will compare the novel with the street and the museum or archive as sources of information about cities. Possible field trips will include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, Freud's house, and the Tate Modern, as well as walks through the streets of London. The course will encourage students to reflect critically on the educational value of tourism and the Oxford program itself.
Short papers and in-class writing assignments (1-2 per week) 50%
Final paper and presentation 25%
Attendance and class participation (including field trips) 25%