Victorian Literature: Politics, Sensation and Sexuality
University of Roehampton
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits5
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units7
Hours & Credits
OverviewAssessment: coursework (5000 words)
Excluded combination: ENG040N524
After the political changes of the 1830s and the poverty and threatened instability of the 1840s, the nineteenth century appeared to settle into security and confidence: England became the workshop of the world, and an expanding colonial and imperial power. The energy of this period can be seen in its novels, which attempted to diagnose and define Victorian society; and in an exceptionally varied range of poetic styles and voices: fiction, poetry and other literary forms engage vigorously with the life of their time. The writing of the nineteenth century is a product of the Victorian sense of both history and modernity, and ranges from the representation of poverty and political struggles in the industrial novel and Chartist writing, to the sensationalism of the 1860s, and fin de siècle decadence as the century drew to a close. It was also a time of uncertainties: debates about the role of women, the authority of religion, and the new scientific theories of Darwin and others will also be considered for their impact on the literature of the time. We will look at major texts by writers such as Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and Tennyson as well as a range of less canonical forms such as science fiction, the sensation novel, political essays and erotic diaries.
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