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syllabus 2006-7

Module Convenor: Dr John Rignall (room 529) 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module you should have:

1. Acquired an understanding of twelve texts spanning the whole of the nineteenth century, from Jane Austen to Hardy and Gissing. 

2. Come to appreciate the range and variety of the novel in this, the richest, period of English fiction.

3. Acquired an understanding of how the novel develops in this period and how it responds to, and engages in the problems of, rapid and radical social change.

4. Developed your ability to read fiction analytically and acquired some understanding of its different modes: Gothic, ironic, satirical, pastoral, and historical romance as well as social realism.

5. Explored the representation of conflicts of class and gender and the novel’s preoccupation with the predicament of women (‘the woman question’) in particular.

6. Acquired an understanding of the distinctive characteristics of most of the major novelists of the century.

7. Improved your skills in close textual analysis and essay-writing. 

Texts to Buy

These are the set texts in the order in which they will be discussed in seminars. Any modern paperback edition is acceptable, though you will find those with notes and introductions to be more useful.

Jane Austen, Persuasion

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Scott, Waverley

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor

Thackeray, Vanity Fair

Dickens, Bleak House

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South 

M. E. Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Gissing, New Grub Street

Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Teaching Methods

A weekly seminar of one and a half hours on Tuesday: either 11.30 to 1pm, or 3.30 to 5pm.

Sections of the Module

1. Introduction and the period 1800-1830 (weeks 1-4).

2. The mid-century, 1845-1865 (weeks 5-15)

3. The later nineteenth century and modern retrospect, 1870-1970 (weeks 17-20) 

Module Requirements

1. Attend seminars, having read the prescribed texts.

2.  Deliver one short seminar paper to start discussion.

3. Submit two 5,000 word assessed essays or submit one 5,000 word essay and sit a two-hour final examination, in which you will be asked to answer two questions from about eight. These will be framed in general terms so that you may answer them with reference to pertinent texts of your own choice from the prescribed list or beyond. 

Useful Background Reading

F. R. Leavis, The Great Tradition

Raymond Williams, The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence 

Plan of the Module

Autumn Term

Week 1    Introduction

Week 2    Persuasion

Week 3    Frankenstein

Week 4    Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Week 5    Shirley

Week 6    Reading Week

Weeks 7-8    Vanity Fair

Weeks 9-10    Bleak House

Spring Term

Week 12    Lady Audley's Secret

Week 13-14    The Mill on the Floss

Week 15    Cousin Phillis

Week 16    Reading Week

Weeks17-18    Far from the Madding Crowd

Weeks 19    The Odd Women

Week 20    The Picture of Dorian Gray

There will also be two revision sessions in the summer term for those students who are taking the examination.