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Engl 315

ENGL 315  The British Novel:  Crime and Punishment (Bachman)

Crime and corruption!  Murder and mayhem! Secrets and lies!

Revenge and Retribution!


Engl 315 will examine the development of the British novel from the eighteenth century through the twenty-first century, focusing particularly on those texts in which crime and criminality play a significant role.  From Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1721) to Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001), we’ll discover a fascinating array of offenses—burglary, theft, murder, rape, kidnapping, fraud, embezzlement, treason etc.—that fuel the plots and entangle the characters in social, psychological, and political mayhem.

Our primary concern will be to read these novels closely and revel (yes, revel!) in them—to understand, analyze, and appreciate their richness and variety of form, language, and content.  To this end, we will pay careful attention to narrative structure and textual detail, as well as to larger themes and patterns. In order to situate these works in their social, political, and aesthetic contexts, we will supplement our reading of these novels with a variety of print ephemera (i.e. newspaper accounts, crime logs, legal cases, the Newgate Calendar, etc.) as well as modern critical and theoretical  studies.  Most important, you will be called upon to express your ideas about and reactions to these works.  Class discussion will focus on questions of gender, sexuality, criminality, class, race, and empire.


Required Texts:

Defoe Daniel, Moll Flanders (1721)

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1836-37)

Wilkie Collins, Blind Love (1889)

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)

Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None (1939)

Ian McEwan, Atonement  (2001)