The decades before World War I are marked by major challenges to Victorian gender and sexual conventions. The Suffragette movement and the `Wilde scandal`of 1895 are only two expressions of these challenges. The seminar will examine ways in which a number of male writers deal with and attempt to redefine conventional Victorian notions of masculinity in the context of an increasing – albeit embattled – imperialism as well as of the debates about women`s liberation and homosexuality. Moreover, as Victorian novel conventions began to give way to what we call now `the modernist novel` we will explore some of the implications of modernist experimentation.
The following novels will be discussed in the seminar:
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (1900)
E.M. Forster, Howards End (1910)
E.M. Forster, Maurice (1914; published posthum. 1971)
D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (1913).
Students are expected to have read some of the novels before the beginning of the semester.