Revolutions and Evolutions 19C Writings (EAS2029)

StaffDr Tricia Zakreski - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

As well as studying a selection of major Victorian texts in depth, we will also consider these texts in their historical, social, and cultural contexts. The use of a course reader will introduce students to a range of texts beyond the core reading that will give students a broad understanding of the major themes that influence the literary production of the period. Such themes include imperialism, industrialisation and urbanisation; gender and identity, religion, secularism and the rise of science; liberalism; the emergence of the mass market; and the development of new literary forms such as the short story. The module will emphasise how these developments are inter-related and how they are engaged with literary and cultural production as it emerged in the course of the century. Lectures and seminars will model research and interpretation that brings together literary and non-literary texts with issues of wider social, cultural, and historical context.  Seminars will aim to encourage students to read texts closely in full consciousness of their historical and cultural positioning. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion and will be encouraged to hold independent small group meetings in preparation for the seminars.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate detailed, analytical knowledge of selected major texts from the Victorian period
  • 2. demonstrate an appreciation of the relation between nineteenth-century literature and important historical and intellectual developments of the time

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. demonstrate an ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context
  • 4. demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 5. demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. through seminar work, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 7. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 8. through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 9. through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate a capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to critically reflect on their own learning process
  • 10. through sitting their final examination, demonstrate proficiency in the use of memory and in the development, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time

Syllabus plan

The Condition of England and the World of Work

1. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton

2. Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market, John Ruskin, “On the Nature of Gothic”, 

3. Thomas Hardy, Mayor of Casterbridge


The Self and Subjectivity

4. Robert Browning “Porphyria’s Lover,” “My Last Duchess”; Alfred Tennyson, “Maud,” Christina Rossetti, “In An Artist’s Studio,”

5. Charlotte Brontë, Villette

6. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass


Writers and Readers

7. Serialization and Print Culture

8. Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend


Modernity and Anti-Modern: Spaces and Times

9. H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines

10. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. The New Woman, Selections of Short Stories

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 16Lecture (16x1hr)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 22Seminar (11x2hr)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 1Revision lecture
Guided independent study 103seminar preparation (individual)
Guided independent study 158reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1000 words1-5, 7-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay452000 words1-5, 7-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Exam452 hours1-5, 7-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Seminar Participation10ContinousOral Feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-5, 7-9Referral/deferral period
ExamExam1-5, 7-10Referral/deferral period
Seminar ParticipationMitigation or repeat StudyOral Feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core Reading:

Charlotte Bronte, Villette (1853). Oxford World Classics. Ed. Margaret Smith.

Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848), Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Thomas Recchio.

Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). Norton Critical Edition. Ed Phillip Mallett.

H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines (1885). Oxford World Classics, Ed. Dennis Butts.

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) Penguin, 1997. Ed. Adrian Poole.

Victorian Literature: A Sourcebook, ed. John Plunkett and Ana Parejo Vadillo Palgrave, 2012

Angelique Richardson, ed, Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women, 1890-1914. Penguin, 2002

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oxford World Classics. Ed. Isobel Murray

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Penguin 2003. Ed Hugh Haughton.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE:Module has an ELE page

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

English, Literature, Victorian, 19th Century, Revolution, Evolution