Department of English UG Module Directory (2020)

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Late Victorian Literature

Level 6 (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to a wide range of different writings during the later part of the nineteenth-century including drama, poetry, art and literary criticism, the short story and the novel. Students will be encouraged to explore such issues as the construction of the self and personality, representation of the body, gender and sexuality, the figure of the artist, and degeneration as well as making a more general survey of the visual and literary imagination in the writings of the period. The module aims to build up confidence in approaching a wide variety of literary texts (including poetry) and to improve close reading skills.

Preparing for this Module and Approximate Costs

Please acquire and read as many of the following texts as you can. It is also possible to access texts via the internet and download original editions from but the editions specified below are recommended.

Walter Pater, 'Sebastian van Storck' and 'Denys L'Auxerrois', from Imaginary Portraits, ed. Lene Østermark-Johansen, MHRA Jewelled Tortoise Series (2014). This excellent edition is available free as an e-book from JSTOR via QM Library. Click on the URL link for this edition in the Library catalogue and you can download expertly annotated versions of both stories. The Introduction to this edition is also worth reading. 

Vernon Lee, Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales, eds. Catherine Maxwell and Patricia Pulham (Broadview Press 2006). Read 'Amour Dure', 'Dionea', and 'A Wedding Chest'.

Rider Haggard, She, World's Classics, ed. Daniel Karlin (1991) is best, but any good quality annotated paperback edition.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Norton Critical Editions (2007), ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie, OR World's Classics, ed. Joseph Bristow (2006) are the best paperback editions.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Norton Critical Editions (2003), ed. Katherine Linehan is best, but any good annotated paperback edition.

Daughters of Decadence: Women Writers of the Fin de Siècle, ed. Elaine Showalter (Virago, 1993).

Thomas Hardy, The Well-Beloved (1897), NOT The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892). Use one of the following editions: Oxford: World's Classics, 1986; London: Everyman, Dent, 1997; Ware: Wordsworth Classics, 2000; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2007.

Other material including poetry by Eugene Lee-Hamilton and Charlotte Mew will be provided for you in the modulepack or on QMplus.

Primary texts costing up to £45 if purchased new in recommended editions. These costs can be reduced by purchasing items second-hand or borrowing them from the Library and many texts are also available free online. No additional costs are anticipated for this module.

Learning Context Long Seminar
Semester 2

1. Critical Commentary (1,200 words), 20%
2. Essay (3,000 words), 80%

Mode of reassessment Standard
Contact Catherine Maxwell