Title: Treasure of a Great Metropolis: London
and Literature in the Nineteenth Century
Course Leader: Professor David Skilton.
Academic Year: 200304 (MA
in English Literature scheme).
Catalogue Entry: This course analyses
the way a variety of texts relate to the city, and the relationships
of fictional and historical individuals to their urban environment
are presented. There will be a concentration on the techniques,
analytical assumptions and ideologies involved. The course will
make use of an anthology of prose and verse works and passages,
which is available on the Cardiff University Information Server
Duration of Course: One term (19
January 26 March 2004).
Aims of the Course: The growth of
modern London was accompanied by new ways of presenting the complexity
of the urban scene, new expressions of moral and religious concern,
and new myths and fantasies about the city. The ancient literary
subject of the relation between the country and the city is given
new forms, and the city labyrinth becomes the site of mystery,
crime, misery and despair, and of detective work, wealth, invention
and political and sociological awareness. Complex cities also
invite deliberate cultivation of new modes of aesthetic appreciation,
new ways of experiencing vestiges of the past, and new ways of
comparing this city with other imperial cities, past and present.
All these phenomena are exemplified in the set anthology.
Objective of the Course: Having
examined examples of the treatment of London in nineteenth-century
texts, as well as some earlier examples, students gain a better
understanding of the London which appears in the literature
of the period, and are better equipped to respond to appropriate
aspects of many texts which they study in other courses, and build
a foundation for research into urban literature.
Method of Teaching: Teaching will
be by one two-hour seminar per week.
Assessment: One written essay of
4,000 words, to be submitted in word-processed format by 26 April
Set Texts: An anthology of well-known
and less familiar items is on the file server. Students are expected
to cross-refer to any other relevant literature they may already
Reading: Click on the Bibliography link at the top
of this page for a full reading list.