Course Readings

Tuesday, September 3 | Coordinates. What is the nineteenth century? What is an ecology?

Nathan Hensley and Philip Steer, Ecological Form, “Introduction”*: EcologicalFormIntroandChapterOne

“The Victorian Age: 1830-1910”*: TheVictorianAge1830-1900

“What Made the Victorians So Proud”*: WhatMadeTheVictoriansSoProud

Victorian Literature and Culture “Keywords” essays: (1) Oak Taylor, “Anthropocene”; (2) Hensley, “Environment”; (3) MacDuffie, “Environment”; (4) Miller, “Ecology”*: OakTaylorAnthropocene; HensleyEnvironment; MacDuffieEnvironment; MillerEcology

Week 1 PPT: C19EcologiesWeek1

Tuesday, September 10 | Pre-Victorian System Poetics

William Wordsworth, from The Major Works:

“Home at Grasmere,” “The Ruined Cottage,” “The Old Cumberland Beggar,” “The Thorn,” “Nutting,” “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” “O Nightingale! Thou surely art,” “Appendix A: “There is an active principle alive in all things.”*: Wordsworth Major Works Anthropocene

The Wordsworth poems left off the first PDF are available here: WordsworthGrasmereRuinedCottageNightengale

John Ruskin, “The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century,” Please prepare Lecture 1 only

Zach Fruit, “Enclosure”*: FruitEnclosure

Jerome McGann, from The Romantic Ideology*: McGannRomanticIdeologyWordsworth

“Versification”*: Versification

Andreas Malm, from Fossil Capital*: MalmFossilCapital1-2

Raymond Williams, from The Country and the City*: WilliamsCountryandCity

Pastoral/Counterpastoral PPT:

Tuesday, September 17 | Evolutionary Relations

Charles Darwin., On the Origin of Species 5-100; 230-254; 303-360

Charles Lyell, from Principles of Geology (Please read around in this, but the main statement of method is at the front; you should plan to skim the first 30 pages of it):

Elizabeth Grosz, from Nick of Time* (Pls. print and read only the “Conclusion,” pp. 244-261*): GroszTheNickofTime

John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty*:

Gillian Beer, from Darwin’s Plots*: Chapter 1, “”Pleasure Like a Tragedy”: Imagination and the Material World”: Darwin’sPlots1


Chris Huebner, “A Piece of Coal”:

Prof. Hensley to give short biographies / writing samples for each symposium speaker

[Friday, September 20 | Symposium: Ecology and Religion in the Nineteenth Century]

Attendance at this Georgetown event is encouraged but not mandatory: there is an International student climate strike on this day, with which I am in solidarity.

Tuesday, September 24 | Beings That Are Not Me

Charles Dickens, Hard Times (entire novel)

From Richard Oastler, from Yorkshire Slavery*:

Anna Tsing, “Arts of Inclusion, or How to Love a Mushroom”*: TsingHowToLoveAMushroom

Nathan Hensley and John Patrick James, “Soot Moth: Biston Bistularia and the Victorian End of Nature”*:

Recommended: Catherine Gallagher, from The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction*: The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction

Optional: Audrey Jaffe, from Scenes of Sympathy, pp. 1-23*: JaffeScenesOfSympathyIntro

Hard Times PPT: HardTimesMelodramaTragedy

Domestic Ideology PPT: DomesticIdeologyPPT

Tuesday, October 1 | NO CLASS, professor traveling to UBC.


Read Wuthering Heights. Each student writes a full blog post with two discussion questions.

Tuesday, October 8 | An Existence of Yours Beyond You

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Essays on “Yorkshire Slavery” tbd*

Christina Sharpe, “Introduction” and “The Weather,” from In The Wake: On Blackness and Being*

Wuthering Heights PPT: WutheringHeightsC19Ecologies

Tuesday, October 15 | Poetic Knowledge & the Species Division

PRIORITY 1: Christina Rossetti, selected sonnets, and from Sing Song and The Face of the Deep*: 

Biography and selected sonnets, including “Monna Innominata” (Please read this entire c. 10 page PDF carefully): RossettiSelectedPoemsandBio

Please browse through purposefully, and read as many poems as you can from, Sing Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book (1872); see especially “Why did baby die” (!) and “A baby’s cradle with no baby in it” (!!); you do not need to print this:

Please browse through casually — and get a sense of the construction of — this long and strange hybrid book, Time Flies: A Reading Diary (1897); you do not need to print this:

[Note that Rossetti’s manuscript for Sing Song is available here — with her own illustrations. This is entirely optional to look at.]

PRIORITY 2: “Robert Browning, select dramatic monologues including “Caliban Upon Setebos”. Please read the following two poems carefully, focusing on “Caliban”:

“Porphyria’s Lover”:

“Caliban Upon Setebos; Or, Natural Theology In the Island”:

Note: as you read “Caliban” please note that the apostrophe form “e.g. ‘Thinketh'” is a contraction for “I”, and is Caliban using the first person, so “‘Thinketh” is “I Thinketh”.

Secondary reading / theory:

PRIORITY 3: REQUIRED: Donna Haraway, from Making Kin in the Cthulucene*: ch2-haraway-staying-with-trouble

OPTIONAL: Roberto Esposito, “The Dispositif of the Person”*: EspositoDispositifofthePerson

Tuesday, October 22 | Incalculable Diffusion I

George Eliot, Middlemarch


Tuesday, October 29 | Incalculable Diffusion II

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Gage McWeeny, from The Comfort of Strangers*: [Note, this was added Friday, 11:23 AM; please do your best to complete but I understand if you aren’t able to fully complete or print.] McWeenyComfortOfStrangers

Review “Digital Middlemarch Project“*

Tuesday, November 5 | Incalculable Diffusion III

[CLOSE READING DUE; Note this is a new due date, moved from 10.22]

George Eliot, Middlemarch [to end!]

Laura Otis, “The Webs of Middlemarch”*:

Tuesday, November 12 | Imperialism and Ecological Knowledge

John Hanning Speke, from Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile*: [Please read *at least* pp. 1-43 [chs 1&2] of this book length document:

Richard Francis Burton, brief biography. [Please be sure to read this short website!:] 

Richard Francis Burton, from The Kasidah of Haji-Abdu Al Yezdi*: [Please start on this page (28/162) and read at least 50 pp of this strange and ventriloquized philosophical poem:]

Richard Francis Burton, Falconry in the Valley of the Indus*: [Please read at least 25 pp of this document”] 

Edward Said, from Orientalism*: (Please read pp. 1-28 [“Introduction”] from the following book-length PDF:

Mike Davis, from Late Victorian Holocausts* : Late Victorian Holocausts scan

Optional: Jessica Howell, “Mapping Miasma, Containing Fear: Richard Burton in West Africa”: HowellBurtonMiasma

Tuesday, November 19 | Cosmic Time, Open Systems [NOTE: CLASS MEETS IN DE LA CRUZ ART GALLERY, 3535 Prospect St. NW. Washington, DC 20007]

Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders (first half: up to pp. 184 in our Penguin edition– through the end of Volume II, ch. 9.)

Megan Ward, “The Woodlanders and the Cultivation of Realism:” WardWoodlandersCultivationofRealism

Hardy PPT: HardyPPT

Tuesday, November 26 | Cosmic Time, Open Systems II

Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders (to conclusion!)

Christina Sharpe, from In the Wake: On Blackness and Being*: Introduction (required): Sharpe_In the Wake

And “The Weather” (optional, amazing, recommended):

Optional: Aaron Rosenberg, “‘Infinitesimal Lives’: Thomas Hardy’s Scale Effects” (in Ecological Form)

Georgetown Slavery PPT: GeorgetownSlaveHistoryPPT

Tuesday, December 3 | Wreckage & Redemption

Gerard Manley Hopkins, selected poems, including “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” “God’s Grandeur,” “As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame,” “The Windhover,” “Inversnaid,” “Binsey Poplars,” “Ribblesdale”*; “Author’s Preface” pp 106-107; Journal entries, pp. 202-211 . [These poems are in your puchased GM Hopkins book; a PDF of *some* is here, please look up the others online: HopkinsJournalsandPoems

Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”*:

Zach Samalin, “A Map the Size of the Empire”: Introduction to Theories of the Nineteenth Century*:  Samalin – Intro_Map and Territory_FINAL (1)

JMW Turner, selected paintings and from Turner’s Sketchbooks*: [Note this is a google link to a large file]:

Readings for Future Life:

Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor”*: TuckYangDecolonizationNotAMetaphor

Audre Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury”*:


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14. Final projects due by email, 12 pm.