So I'm revising the syllabus for my Brit Lit survey (Romanticism to Modernism). Currently, it's quite heavy on the Romantics, partly because I'm doing Frankenstein. As for the rest of it, I think I have too much contextual reading (you know, on the French Revolution and industrialism and labor and aesthetics and childhood and the imagination and all that--but not in that order), and I need to spice it up. I like teaching Frankenstein. I also teach a Sherlock Holmes story, and I love the way reading Doyle gives such a great picture of the Victorian era while at the same time being entertaining.
I want to add more things like M. R. James, H. G. Wells, and Stoker, but my anthology doesn't include them, so I might make handouts. And I wish my text had more of E. B. Browning's intense political poems.
And I'm asking myself questions like, Shall I throw in Jekyl and Hyde? Dorian Gray? Shall I cut some of my Romantic poets? Shall I keep the travel writers? They don't really need to read Carlyle, do they? (I mean, I like Carlyle myself, or at least I find him useful, but perhaps it's overkill for a sophomore-level tour through 200 years of literature). I mean, I want to teach them stuff they'll remember rather that stuff they'll soon forget.
All that said, what are your favorite texts during these periods?