Skip to main content

Unit information: Victorian Materialities in 2021/22

Unit name Victorian Materialities
Unit code ENGLM0063
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Tara Puri
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The Victorians’ fascination with the increasingly opulent and diverse material culture of their time has become a central concern for the field of Victorian studies, particularly in the last decade. In keeping with this ‘material turn’, this unit will focus on the numerous, seemingly trivial objects that populate the writing of the period, existing on the fringes of the reader’s consciousness. The unit explores the dynamic ways in which subjects and objects merge, become metonyms of each other, and find themselves materially transformed through this exchange. We will examine a wide range of literary and cultural concepts, and consider the porous boundaries between Victorian subjects and objects, as well as the category of ‘thing’ – following Bill Brown’s notion of the ‘thing’ as an intermediary between subject and object. The aim of the unit is to investigate how these artefacts contribute to an understanding Victorian literature and culture. While literature is the dominant focus, we will also look at selected paintings, literary illustrations and fashion plates from women’s magazines.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will have:

(1) developed a detailed knowledge and understanding of material culture in relation to Victorian literature;

(2) developed a critical understanding of the political, historical, cultural and theoretical contexts that influence this body of literature;

(3) acquired the ability to analyse and evaluate differing critical accounts of the primary literature;

(4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in order to illustrate a cogent argument;

(5) strengthened skills in argumentation, academic writing, and evaluation of textual evidence from a range of Victorian literature and culture, appropriate to level M.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

1 x 1,000 word presentation and 1 x 4,000 word essay (100%) - ILO's 1-5


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGLM0063).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.