ABSTRACT

A survey of AP English Literature and AP English Language exams administered over the past two decades reveals that nineteenth-century British literature—especially novels of this era—is underrepresented compared to texts from other literary historical periods. At the same time, a range of recent or relatively recent fiction, television shows, and film depicts teenagers embracing Victorian texts, particularly the novels of George Eliot. This unexpected enthusiasm for literature published two centuries ago, however, is even more evident in high school English classes today. This article includes six accounts of the successes that secondary school English teachers have had in motivating their students to read nineteenth-century fiction that seemed destined to gather dust on the shelves of their schools' bookrooms.

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