Reading Victorian Literature - EN672

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
5 30 (15) DR M Shaw




Not available as wild



This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of Victorian literature. It will equip students with critical ideas that will help them become more skilful and confident readers of texts in and beyond this period. Students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts: environmental (for example, considering the effects of urbanisation and the Industrial Revolution); imaginative (examining a variety of genres: for example fable, dream-vision, novel); political (class conflicts, changing gender roles, ideas of nation and empire); and psychological (representations of growing up, courtship, sibling and parent-child relationships, dreams and madness). Students will be made aware of such critical concepts as realism and allegory and will be encouraged to think about various developments of literary form in the period.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Ten one-hour lectures and ten two-hour seminars.

Method of assessment

50% coursework: 2,500 word close reading assignment (40%), 2,500 word essay (40%), seminar performance (20%);
50% examination - 3-hour paper

Indicative reading

Dickens, C. (1848) Oliver Twist.
Browning, R. (1855). 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.'
Tennyson, A. (1855). ‘Maud.’
Rossetti, C. (1862). Goblin Market.
Eliot, G (1872). Middlemarch.
Stevenson, R. L. (1888). The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
(Multiple editions of these texts are currently available; we do not specify a required edition.)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following subject specific learning outcomes:

• Demonstrate an informed understanding of the English literature of the Victorian period across a number of genres and sub-genres.
• Demonstrate knowledge of some of the major literary, cultural and historical issues that mattered to the writers of the period.
• Demonstrate awareness of some recent developments in the critical understanding of literature in the Victorian period.
• Demonstrate a developing sense of the different forms of writing in this period and a growing capacity to analyse them critically.

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following generic learning outcomes:

• Application of the skills needed for academic study and inquiry
• Ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of texts and contexts; ability to synthesise material from a number of sources in a coherent creative whole
• The ability to frame oral criticism of diverse sources sensitively and incisively
• Develop powers of communication and the capacity to make a case, in spoken and written form, with clarity, organisation and conviction
• Enhance confidence in the presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
• Ability to understand, interrogate and pursue a variety of theoretical insights and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives

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