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EN396 The English Country House: fictions and histories (final year students only)

Seminars: Tuesday 11-1pm

The success of television programmes such as Downton Abbey and rising visitor numbers tell us that the idea of the stately home is as powerful as ever. This module invites students to explore the cultural history and literature of the English country house, tracing narratives of privilege, nostalgia and resistance from the late eighteenth century to the present day, attending to interior d├ęcor, garden design, collecting and other material statements of wealth as well as to novels, short stories, film and television.

The module will be assessed by a portfolio of written work, creative and/or scholarly, which may be supported by or may document the creation of responses in other media.

There will be a field trip to a local country house.

Illustrative plan:

Week 1: introduction: the English country house

Week 2: Austen, Mansfield Park

Week 3: the Victorian stately home: Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White

Week 4: ghosts and nostalgia: Lucy M. Boston, The Children of Green Knowe + selected stories of MR James

Week 5: inheritance: Vita Sackville-West, The Edwardians

Week 6: reading week

Week 7: landscape and estates: DH Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

Week 8: field trip

Week 9: Du Maurier, Rebecca

Week 10: Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day