Selected works of well-known writers from the 19th and 20th centuries (Dickens, James, Wharton, Twain, Thoreau). Analysis of the ways literature both reflects and critiques the social values and customs of its time. The concept of ‘lens’ implies that we are limited by particular perspectives but also that literature can focus and strengthen our vision. Emphasis on reading, discussion, research, and writing. Prerequisite: Any 200-level English course.