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?"

Rob Nixon, "Slow Violence"

Presentation: Dante


Mar 28: Wuthering heights 3 | distant reading

Wuthering Heights (finish novel)

What is Distant Reading? 

Franco Morretti, Graphs, Maps, and Trees 

Presentation: Nyoka


April 4: AGNES GREY | special collections & archival research

Agnes Grey (full novel)

Theory Quiz #2

Presentations: Jocelyn & Chris


april 11: CONFERENCES & MOVIE SCREENING

Paper proposals due by email on Wednesday, 4/10. Use the letterhead provided to write a formal letter. Due by email on 4/10.

5:30 Nyoka & David
6:00 Ashley & Jocelyn
6:30 Michael & Kristina
7:00 Roxanne & Alyssa
7:30 Chris
8:00 Dante


April 18: Trip to NYPL Berg Collection

We will meet at 5:45 pm at the NYPL Schwartzman Main Library near Bryant park, by the lions.

Browse the Berg Collection holdings here and think of 2 questions for the librarians.

Start research for your final paper. Complete an Annotated Bibliography.


APril 25: SPRING BREAK | No class 


May 2: Poems & Juvenilia 

Charlotte Brontë, Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell (1850) (in the Appendix of the Oxford Agnes Grey or in your Norton Critical Wuthering Heights)

Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846). Choose a poem and write a 2-paragraph reading response on our email chain.

Presentations: David & Dante


May 9: Paper and teaching Presentations

Rough drafts of your paper are due by May 15 for those who want feedback.


May 16: Final Exam


 Final papers due May 24.