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Module

SEL3395 : The Victorian Novel: Time, Change, and the Life Course

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

Aims

This module examines how characters mature and develop (or fail to do so) in the Victorian novel. As we will see, the way an individual is represented as growing up reflects deeply held beliefs about the value of societal progress and reform. Through a detailed analysis of six novels, we will reflect upon how the human lifespan changes in response to the burgeoning modernity of the nineteenth century. We will explore how the novel form contributes to the construction of subjectivities across the life course and consider a broad range of questions, including the following: How did social expectations about gender and sexuality change with age? How did industrialisation create and shut down opportunities for young and elderly workers? What role did race and empire play in the perception of ageing? How was the concept of the life course informed by the partitioning of the novel into a beginning, middle, and end?

Outline Of Syllabus

The first half of the module will focus on novels such as The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens and Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell to examine how the Victorian era’s most powerful plots—such as the bildungsroman or the marriage plot—privilege certain life stages over others. We will read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to reflect upon the ways growing up challenges accounts of the lifespan that delimit age appropriate behaviours.

The second half of the module will examine the Victorian life course through a series of critical contexts. We will reflect upon the economics of ageing in William Morris’s News from Nowhere; evolutionary science and heredity in Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved; and the role of race and empire in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.

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