Well, I submitted the first exam and picked up the questions for my second, which is roughly British Literature from 1830-1900. These questions are a bit gnarlier. Then again, I’m a lot more tired than I was on Monday.
- Published at mid-century, Darwin’s The Origin of Species focalizes decades of early nineteenth-century evolutionary thought that informed English literature while serving as the inspiration for subsequent literary constructions of biological, social, and narrative development. Discussing a selection of poetry and prose by at least 5 different authors, consider the formal and conceptual influence of evolutionary thinking on British Victorian literature.
- Nature, variously conceived, served as the site of imaginative inspiration and investment throughout nineteenth-century poetry and prose. Literary representations of natural spaces, of course, were often populated by rural workers. As Raymond Williams has argued, the image of a rural-urban divide in British literature is a constructed one that often obscures relations between social classes across England. Looking at a variety of poems and novels, analyze the ways Victorian authors address (or do not address) the issue of class relations in rural and urban spaces. In what ways do these works simultaneously explore related tensions between ideas on nature and of artifice?
Focalize? Clearly this examiner is a bit more fond of her academic diction than the last. I’m probably going to tackle the first question, since I know a good bit more about Darwin than anything else in the Victorian era. Rock on, bio major and courses on 19th-century science! Also, I didn’t read the Raymond Williams criticism, and I’m a little sick of rural/urban divide since that factored into my last exam a bit.
UPDATE: It’s over! And I kind of like my British Breadth Essay better than my American one!