Victorian Children’s Literature: Girls in the Underworld (LIT2515.01)

Jenny Boully

Quintessential to the Victorian cult of the girl-child, both Alice Liddell and Wendy Darling have emerged as contemporary mythic icons of both traditional and subversive femininity. In this class, we will investigate how girl-children are entrapped and enchanted in the works of men, focusing on J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, including the prototype, Alice’s Adventures Underground. We will also read biographies, letters, and the cultural discourse on the idea of children (such as Philippe Aries’ Centuries of Childhood). Additionally, we will dive into the world of Carroll’s other mechanism of capturing girl children: photography. Ancillary texts will include essays by Carol Mavor (Pleasures Taken; Reading Boyishly), James R. Kincaid (Erotic Innocence; Child-Loving), Catherine Robson (Men in Wonderland), Bruno Bettelheim (The Uses of Enchantment), and U.C. Knoepflmacher (Ventures into Childhood). We will also consider contemporary representations of Alice and Wendy and how they continue to be entrapped and re-enchanted.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Hybrid in-person and remote, with faculty in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 8:30AM - 10:20AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Hybrid In-Person and Remote , Literature , Updates