Serial Fictions: The Victorian Novel and Contemporary Television
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(Offered as ENGL 475 and FAMS 475.) This course examines the similarities in form and content between the Victorian novel and the modern television series. While contemporary TV and fiction from over a century ago might seem like a surprising pairing, the two forms have a great deal in common. Indeed, serial television finds its foundation in nineteenth-century publication practices: the Victorian novels we now read as massive single-volume books were originally published in small weekly or monthly parts. Focusing on case studies in which we place a Victorian novel and a television series side by side, this course interrogates questions of genre, form, medium, and the dubious division of popular entertainment and high art. Through experiments with our own reading, writing, and viewing habits, we will ask how the serial forms of the Victorian novel and TV illuminate each other, what habits of consumption they promote, and what they have to teach us about seriality itself.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 16 students. Fall semester. Professors Christoff and Hastie.
If Overenrolled: Preference given to junior and senior ENGL and FAMS majors.