This course will examine the intersections of art and life in Victorian England, focusing on visual and literary texts associated (both directly and tangentially) with British Aestheticism. Through our study of texts in various media and genres, we will look at the ways architects, painters, poets, craftspeople, socialists, feminists, and novelists sought to combat the effects of an Industrial Age in a world that was becoming increasingly mechanized, and as some felt, increasingly ugly. Our study will also address Victorian fascination with the art and culture of ancient Greece and Italy, as well as late-19th-century panic as art for art’s sake and pleasure for pleasure’s sake blurred the boundaries between Victorian Aestheticism and fin-de-siècle Decadence.
Overall, our goal will be twofold: (1) to establish a solid understanding of some of the literature of the mid and late 19th-century; and (2) to explore how Victorian conceptions of beauty had profound political, social, and economic implications—creating intersections between aesthetics and contemporary notions of gender, sexuality, class, race, and empire.
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00-3:15
Dr. Jill Ehnenn