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 décor, 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.
Week 1: introduction: the English country house
Week 2: Austen, Mansfield Park
Week 3: the Victorian stately home
Week 4: selected readings: ghosts and nostalgia
Week 5: selected readings: collecting and display
Week 6: reading week
Week 7: selected readings: landscape and gardens
Week 8: field trip
Week 9: Du Maurier, Rebecca
Week 10: Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day