ENG 742: Studies in Nineteenth-Century English Literature
Pedagogical Approaches to the Brontës

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Jan 31: Introduction | biographical & historical contexts | INtro to juvenilia

Introductions & Syllabus

Critical Editions

Biographical & Historical Contexts

Harvard Gazette article: “The Genesis of Genius”

The Brontës’ early writings: Combining fact and fantasy

HW: Purchase or borrow books for the semester. (Note: Purchase 4th edition of Norton Critical Jane Eyre. The syllabus listing is wrong!) Letter to the Professor. Readings for February 7 (See below). Choose a presentation week & your preferred Anne Brontë novel.


February 7: the Juvenilia | What is children’s literature? | teaching with DIgital archives

The Brontës, Selected Tales of Glass Town, Gondal, and Angria

Christine Alexander, Introduction to the Juvenilia

HW: Letter to the Professor; research and answer: “What is Children’s Literature?”; bring laptops to class if you can.

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Peter Hunt, “The Expanding World of Children’s Literature Studies”

The History of Angria (link)

Earliest known writing of Charlotte Brontë (link)

British Library juvenilia collection (for class)


February 14: Jane Eyre 1 | Teaching feminist texts: madwoman in the attic

Jane Eyre, Chapters 1-20

Virginia Woolf, from “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” (461-463)

Sandra M. Gilbert, “A Dialogue of Self and Soul: Plain Jane’s Progress” (464-487)



February 28: jane eyre 3 | Disabilities studies: The madwoman and the blindman

Jane Eyre 33-38

Lennard Davis, “Seeing the Object as in Itself it Really Is: Beyond the Metaphor of Disability”

Julia Miele Rodas, Elizabeth J. Donaldson, and David Bolt, “The Madwoman and the Blindman: Introduction”

Presentations: Alyssa, “Jane Eyre & Bluebeard”; Kristina, “Disability Studies: Perception, Theory, and Movement”; and Roxanne, “The Madwoman and the Blindman”


March 7: wide sargasso sea | postcolonial theory: can the subaltern speak?

Wide Sargasso Sea (entire novel)

Quiz in class (review your class notes and key terms)

Gayatri Spivak, “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism”

Gayatri Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?

Presentation: Greg


Mar 14: wuthering heights 1 | Affect theory: ugly feelings

Wuthering Heights 1-15

Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings

Presentations: Michael and Ramata



Mar 21: Wuthering heights 2 | Ecocriticism

Wuthering Heights 16-25

16 Position Papers answering "What is Ecocriticism?"


Mar 28: Wuthering heights 3 | distant reading

Wuthering Heights 26-34 or Volume III

What is Distant Reading? 

Franco Morretti, Maps, Graphs and Trees 

Presentation: Margaret and Nyoka


April 4: AGNES GREY | special collections & archival research

Presentations: Jocelyn, David & Chris


april 11: CONFERENCES & MOVIE SCREENING


April 18: Trip to NYPL Berg Collection

We will meet at 6:00 pm at the NYPL Schwartzman Main Library near Bryant park, by the lions.


APril 25: SPRING BREAK | No class 


May 2: Presentations I: Poems & Juvenilia 


May 9: Presentations II: Afterlives & Adaptations


May 16: Final Exam


 Final papers due May 24.