Victorians EN2040

This course considers a range of textual forms typical of the Victorian period, with reference to poetry, fiction and drama in the nineteenth century.

The course will develop your understanding of change and continuity in the literary culture of the period, provide a context for the application of a wide range of critical approaches to the literature of the period, and enable you to handle with confidence a range of terms used in contermporary readings of Victorian literature such ‘realism’, ‘naturalism’, and ‘Darwinism’.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should:

  • Have developed a working knowledge of the connections between literary practice in the Victorian period and the historical and cultural context of that practice
  • Have an enhanced ability to recognise the aesthetic principles underlying the use of genre, and the ethical and cultural weight of those principles
  • Be able to formulate critical arguments based on a range of Victorian texts and authors
  • Have improved skills of critical analysis that enable you to offer close readings of Victorian texts and to situate such texts historically by identifying and linking formal and thematic characteristics Essential Reading

Essential reading

Among topics which students may study are:

  • the narrative poem
  • the social problem novel
  • the literary avocation of the woman’s role
  • Darwinism
  • faith and doubt
  • social unease
  • Decadence
  • author-based studies

Among authors whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Thackeray
  • Hopkins
  • Mrs Gaskell
  • Tennyson
  • Dickens
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Hardy
  • George Eliot
  • Charlotte Brontë
  • Emily Brontë
  • Browning
  • Elizabeth Barnett Browning