Victorian Literature 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 2
The Victorians are both very strange and very familiar: simultaneously modern and traditional, democratic and elitist, innovative and conservative. They lived in a period of immense change, marked by internal conflicts and contradictions. Women and the working classes were fighting for improved rights and representation. Mechanised industry and imperial expansion created unprecedented wealth, but also provoked profound anxieties and trenchant criticism. Enthusiasm for scientific discoveries and new technologies clashed with nostalgic longing for the medieval past. On this module, we will read a selection of Victorian texts from across genres – including novels, short stories, long and short poems, and essays – to explore the above themes, along with: print culture; the development of (and challenges against) realism; the country and the city; class, industrialisation and social mobility; the women’s movement, women’s writing, and the 'New Woman'; gender and sexuality; the relationship between notions of scientific ‘truth’ and religious ‘faith’; education; ideas of nationality, race, and eugenics; late-Victorian Gothic; and imperialism and its critics.. Authors studied will vary from year to year, but will likely include: Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Barett Browning, Thomas Hardy, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Oscar Wilde.
Excellent Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production
Good Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
Satisfactory Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium • Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times
Pass Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium
- Apply appropriate literary and contextual theories to the study of individual authors and texts.
- Identify and critically analyse the significance of, and relationship between, key thematic and formal aspects of Victorian literary texts.
- Select, digest and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in essay form both to a deadline and under exam conditions.
- Understand and critically discuss the relationship between Victorian texts and their historic and cultural contexts.
- Understand the range and variety of genres employed by authors during this period, and critically discuss individual texts within their generic context.
Mid-term portfolio: Primary and Secondary Research Students will prepare a preparatory research portfolio for their final project, based on one of the suggested questions or a question developed in consultation with the module convenor. The portfolio will consist of 1) statement of topic and chosen (provisional) primary texts 2) a reflection on the significance of their chosen texts' genre(s) (up to 250-500 words) 2) a short review if 3 secondary sources and two primary sources related to their topic (between ca. 250-350 words per source).
Final Coursework Essay Students will build on the work completed for their research portfolio by writing an essay answering on of the given questions or a question developed in consultation with the module organiser.