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Module

SEL3091 : Sex and Money: Economies of the Victorian Novel

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ella Dzelzainis
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Students will acquire:

Detailed, analytical knowledge of selected Victorian novels

Close knowledge of a range of subgenres within the category of the Victorian novel

Political and social knowledge of the range of ways in which the Victorians discussed questions of sexuality and commerce

Awareness of the relation between nineteenth-century literature and important historical and intellectual developments of the time

Contextual familiarity with Victorian non-fiction prose from a range of sources such as newspapers, parliamentary reports, letters and social investigations

Outline Of Syllabus

This module explores the Victorian period as a time of social and political turbulence – an era of contested gender relations and rapid commercial expansion – and considers how key Victorian novelists used fiction to examine the relationship between sex and money. Notable now for its plaiting together of a range of genres – including realism, melodrama, satire, gothic – the Victorian novel was, in its own time, often seen as a formal repository of social ‘truth’ and many novelists acquired the status of cultural commentators. We study a range of literary bestsellers from the period, roaming across a range of subgenres such as the silver-fork novel, satirical realism, Chartist fiction, the Bildungsroman, and the sensation novel. In addition to the idea of the Victorian marriage market, we will typically be considering the sexual and commercial connotations of topics such as women and luxury; homosexuality, homosociality and consumption; prostitution; counterfeiting and the idea of the gentleman; gender and speculation.

Indicative list of primary texts (novels may vary from year to year):

Marguerite, Lady Blessington, The Victims of Society (1837)
William M Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1848)
George W M Reynolds, The Seamstress; or, The White Slaves of England (1850)
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1862)
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)
Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now (1875)
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891).

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable