Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE English Fiction of the Nineteenth Century: Further Studies

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit builds upon ENG1174, focusing more closely on the middle and late Victorian period to study three major figures in the history of the novel: Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. Social changes are represented by these writers through an array of literary techniques that are traced through the set texts. The following novels will be discussed in detail: Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Jude the Obscure.

Further recommended reading might include: Dickens' s Hard times/ Our Mutual Friend, Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh

Norton Critical Editions (when available) of these primary texts are recommended.

Study-unit Aims:

- To present three major novelists of the nineteenth century;
- To teach the most important thematic concerns of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy in relation to the social and religious concerns of the period;
- To demonstrate convergences and divergences between the set texts;
- To examine the narrative techniques used by the three writers and to connect these with the development of the novel in the nineteenth century and beyond;
- To teach the critical terms required for the literary analysis of the nineteenth century novel.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand the development of the novel form in nineteenth century Britain;
- Appreciate Great Expectations, Middlemarch, and Jude the Obscure;
- Discern the literary treatment of political, religious and social concerns of nineteenth century Britain;
- Identify the influences between the texts studied, or how they converge or diverge in their literary construction of the nineteenth century in Britain.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Recognise the influence of a particular period of history upon selected novels written at the time;
- Understand how artistic endeavour was influenced by nineteenth century society;
- Discern the literary techniques employed by writers in the developing the genre of the novel;
- Produce advanced textual / critical commentary upon selected texts from the literature studied.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Great Expectations
- Middlemarch
- Jude the Obscure

Supplementary readings:

- G.M. Young Victorian England: Portrait of an Age (Oxford U p: 1957).
- Herbert F. Tucker, A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture (Blackwell: 1999).
- Sally Mitchell (ed.) Victorian Britain: an Encyclopedia (St James Press: 1990).
- Raymond Williams The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence (Hogarth Press: 1984).
- Philip Collins Dickens and Crime (Palgrave Macmillan: 2003).
- A. E. Dyson (ed.) Dickens’s Bleak House (Casebook Series) (Macmillan:1969).
- George Ford Dickens and his Readers (Norton Library:1974).
- Edmund Wilson ‘The Two Scrooges’ in The Wound and the Bow (Oxford UP: 1965).
- Norman Page Hard Times, Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend (Casebook Series) (Macmillan: 1979).
- Juliet McMaster Dickens - The Designer (Barnes and Noble: 1987).
- John Lucas Charles Dickens: The Major Novels (Penguin:1992).
- John Peck (ed.)George Eliot: Middlemarch (New Casebook Series) (Palgrave Macmillan: 2001).
- Karen Chase, George Eliot: Middlemarch (Cambridge University Press: 1991).
- Ian Gregor The Great Web: Hardy’s Major Fiction (Rowman & Littlefield: 1974).
- Penny Boumelha Jude the Obscure (New Casebook Series) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Stella Borg Barthet
Giuliana Fenech

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