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Unit information: Literature in its Time 4: Nineteenth-Century Prose in 2015/16

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Unit name Literature in its Time 4: Nineteenth-Century Prose
Unit code ENGL30202
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hutcheon
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit offers an opportunity to study prose from across the nineteenth-century. The focus will be mainly on the novel, from Jane Austen to Thomas Hardy. Other relevant prose works will also be considered, especially those that influenced imaginative writers in this century - for example, Darwin's 'The Origin of the Species'. The focus will be primarily on the English tradition, but there will normally be an opportunity to study at least one novel in translation.


This unit aims to provide students with opportunities to extend their understanding of a broad range of prose writings from the nineteenth century, focusing especially on the novel. Students will be asked to consider in depth the development of the novel across the century, its changing place in the literary canon and in the marketplace, and its relationship to other prose forms. The unit aims to facilitate students ongoing and detailed appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have had an opportunity to read a range of novels and other prose writings chosen from across the nineteenth century; to consider relevant questions and contexts, including some related to authorship and readership; and to build further their appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Teaching Information

The unit will normally be taught in ten three-hour seminars, which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion.

Assessment Information

Students will be required to write one essay for formal assessment, of 3,500 to 4,500 words; the mark for this essay will be the unit mark.

Reading and References

  • Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
  • George Eliot, Adam Bede
  • Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
  • Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
  • Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina