The Victorian Period


Course Convenor:  Dr. Juliette Atkinson

The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the work of a number of important Victorian novelists, poets and critics and to study these in the historical, cultural, social and political context of the period 1830-1900. The course may be arranged according to genres (novel, poetry, criticism) and/or themes (e.g. empire, gender and sexuality).

Attention is paid to novels by Dickens, the Brontës, Thackeray, Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Hardy, Stevenson and Wilde among others; to poetry by Tennyson, Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Matthew Arnold, A.H. Clough, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, among others; and to works of social and literary criticism by writers such as Thomas Carlyle, Henry Mayhew, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, and Walter Pater.

Emphasis is given, in lectures and seminars, to the social and political context in which Victorian literature was written; topics such as Darwinism, religious faith and doubt, the condition of England, Reform, education, and the fin de siècle, are discussed.

Examination is by means of a 3-hour written paper, or by Course Essay, if preferred and if no other Course Essay is being submitted by the candidate in that year.