Victorian Literature and Culture

Module Code: EN3022
Module Leader: Jessica Cox


The aims of this module are to explore some of the ways in which literature might encode or challenge particular cultural assumptions; to analyse some of the relationships between literary forms and genres, ideological values and changing social and aesthetic contexts; and to consider how the knowledge of a period may contribute to the interpretation of texts. This module focuses on a number of Victorian literary works as the products of a particular and complex cultural milieu. We shall examine a range of texts which share common themes, issues and attitudes and relate these to the social and historical context. The module is based around three ‘case studies’:

• Gender and Sexuality

• The Individual and Society

• The Scientific Age

Core Texts

Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Lady Audley’s Secret. (1862; London: Penguin, 2004).

Anne Brontë. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (1848; London: Penguin, 2004).

Charles Dickens. Hard Times. (1854; New York: Norton, 2001).

Elizabeth Gaskell. North and South. (1855; New York: Norton, 2005).

Laura Otis (ed.). Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

H. G. Wells. The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896; Ontario: Broadview Press, 2009).

Further reading material will be made available to students via Blackboard.


Continuous seminar assessment (20%)
Assessed (group) presentation (20%)
3000 word essay (60%)

Page last updated: Wednesday 09 April 2014