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Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

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The Victorian period was characterised by great change, from the social to the technological.

You will be introduced to Victorian cultural, social, and historical contexts across a range of literary texts, and will explore a variety of different genres, from the sensation novel to detective fiction.

You will study the Victorian novel and its development, as well as other literary genres, including poetry and the short story.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered online via Zoom through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates.

Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Topics may include:

  • The development of the Victorian novel
  • Realism
  • Sensation fiction
  • The Gothic
  • Detective Fiction
  • Victorian poetry
  • The short story
  • Identity, representation and race
  • Gender and Social Class

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Students will complete a portfolio, which may include short reviews, close readings and/or essays. The portfolio will be around 1800 words in length.

Reading suggestions

A selection of poetry and short stories: copies to be provided.

  • Dickens, Charles, Sketches by Boz (1836)
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (1847)
  • Gaskell, Elizabeth North and South (1854)
  • Braddon, Mary Elizabeth, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)
  • Rosetti, Christina, Goblin Market (1862)
  • Le Fanu, Sheridan, Carmilla (1871)
  • Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (1887)
  • Wilde, Oscar, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.