Reading Victorian Literature - ENGL6720

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 30 (15) Lars Atkin checkmark-circle


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. Students will also be asked to reflect critically on the legacies and afterlives of the Victorian period and its literature in contemporary Britain.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 32
Private study hours: 268
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Close-reading assignment (2,000 words) 30%
Long read research essay (3,000 words) 50%
Seminar participation 20%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework (4,000 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an informed understanding of the English literature of the Victorian period across a number of genres and sub-genres.
2 Demonstrate knowledge of some of the major literary, cultural and historical issues that mattered to the writers of the period.
3 Demonstrate awareness of some recent developments in the critical understanding of literature in the Victorian period.
4 Demonstrate a developing sense of the different forms of writing in this period and a growing capacity to analyse them critically.
5 Demonstrate a critical understanding of how the Victorian past is understood and imagined in contemporary culture.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate application of the skills needed for academic study and inquiry
2 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
3 Frame criticism of diverse sources sensitively and incisively in a variety of formats
4 Develop powers of communication and the capacity to make a case with clarity, organisation and conviction in a variety of formats
5 Demonstrate enhanced confidence in the presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
6 Understand, interrogate and pursue a variety of theoretical insights and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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