Loading...

ENGL410: The Victorian Novel

Unit 1: Socio-historical Context: An Introduction to the Victorian Period   The Victorian period coincides, of course, with the reign of Queen Victoria. This age experienced, among other things, the rapid expansion of the British Empire, the emergence of revolutionary forms of technology and science, the birth of new theories concerning ideal social relations, widespread industrialization, and the invention of a new formation of the novel that would forever change the trajectory of narrative: the Victorian novel. In this section of the course, we will explore these and other related issues with the goal of arriving at a global view of Victorianism, identifying its principal characteristics, practitioners, and conventions.

Guiding Questions:

  • What were the complexities of class relations in Victorian England?
  • In what ways did industrialization cause class tension?
  • How did gender influence what kinds of work a person could do?
  • How did the novels of the time reflect these concerns in fiction?

Unit 1 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 7.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- provide an introduction and overview to the Victorian era and the Victorian novel; - explain and define “Victorianism” and its social-historical context; - explain and describe the major conventions of the Victorian novel; - identify the major forms of the Victorian novel; - discuss the problems of gender, class and empire reflected in the Victorian Novel; and - identify the ways in which scientific discovery and political thought influenced the Victorian Novel.

1.1 Introduction to Victorianism: Life, Work, and Vision of England   - Reading: The Official Website of The British Monarchy: “Queen Victoria” Link: The Official Website of The British Monarchy: “Queen Victoria” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this brief passage about the life, work, and the
times of Queen Victoria.  

 Reading this passage and taking notes should take approximately 20
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “What was the life of a typical Englishman just before Victoria ascended the throne?” Link: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “What was the life of a typical Englishman just before Victoria ascended the throne?” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read each of these short article excerpts.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

1.1.1 English Politics during the Age of Queen Victoria   - Reading: The Victorian Web: Marjie Bloy’s “Victorian Legislation: A Timeline” Link: The Victorian Web: Marjie Bloy’s “Victorian Legislation: A Timeline” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this article.  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by [The Victorian
Web](http://www.victorianweb.org) for any scholarly or educational
purpose. The original version of this article can be found
[here](http://www.victorianweb.org/history/legistl.html).
  • Reading: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “Movements and Currents in Nineteenth-Century British Thought” Link: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “Movements and Currents in Nineteenth-Century British Thought” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this brief introduction to currents of thought in the Victorian Era.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Helena Wojtczak’s “The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies” Link: The Victorian Web: Helena Wojtczak’s “The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: David Cody’s “Tory” Link: The Victorian Web: David Cody’s “Tory” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: David Cody’s “Whig” Link: The Victorian Web: David Cody’s “Whig” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

1.1.2 Industrialization, the Decline of Agrarian Lifestyle, and the Rise of the Urban, Working Class   - Reading: The Victorian Web: Gertrude Jekyll’s “‘From Hand Labour to Machine Work in agriculture’: Work and New technologies in the Victorian Era (1904)” Link: The Victorian Web: Gertrude Jekyll’s “‘From Hand Labour to Machine Work in agriculture’: Work and New technologies in the Victorian Era (1904)” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this text.  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by [The Victorian
Web](http://www.victorianweb.org) for any scholarly or educational
purpose. The original version of this article can be found
[here](http://www.victorianweb.org/history/work/1.html).
  • Reading: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “Working-Class Attitudes: Stoicism and Acceptance” Link: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “Working-Class Attitudes: Stoicism and Acceptance” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this text.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

1.2 Victorian Values, Conflicts, and Social Relations   1.2.1 Victorian Values and Victorianism   - Reading: The Victorian Web: Dr. George P. Landow’s “Victorianism as a Fusion of Neoclassical and Romantic Ideas and Attitudes” Link: The Victorian Web: Dr. George P. Landow’s “Victorianism as a Fusion of Neoclassical and Romantic Ideas and Attitudes” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read Dr. Landow’s essay concerning the relationship
between Victorianism and cultural forms of the past.  
      
 Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by [The Victorian
Web](http://www.victorianweb.org) for any scholarly or educational
purpose. The original version of this article can be found
[here](http://www.victorianweb.org/vn/abrams1.html).
  • Reading: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “Victorian and Victorianism” Link: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “Victorian and Victorianism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the short introduction to religion and politics in the Victorian period.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

1.2.2 Conflicts, an Overview   - Reading: Survey of British Literature: “Chapter 7: The Victorian Era” Link: Survey of British Literature: “Chapter 7: The Victorian Era” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read through to the end of “Conflicts over Women’s
Rights.”  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take you 3 hours.  

 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to the authors who have requested to remain anonymous.

1.2.3 Introduction to the Working Classes   - Reading: The Victorian Web: Anthony S. Wohl’s “Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor” Link: The Victorian Web: Anthony S. Wohl’s “Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the short description of Henry Mayhew,  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take you 5 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by [The Victorian
Web](http://www.victorianweb.org) for any scholarly or educational
purpose. The original version of this article can be found
[here](http://www.victorianweb.org/history/race/rc10.html).
  • Web Media: Podularity: “Henry Mayhew: London Labour and the London Poor – an audio guide” Link: Podularity: “Henry Mayhew: London Labour and the London Poor – an audio guide” (MP3)

    Instructions: Read the brief introduction and then listen to the author as he describes Mayhew, the city slums and more. Listen to the first eight of the ten audio files.

    This podcast and reading assignment should take you 20 minutes.

    About the Link: Audio guide, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst of Magdalen College, Oxford, who edited and selected this new edition, introduces Henry Mayhew. Podularity.com allows authors to communicate with readers through regular podcasts, interviews with authors, author reading, reports from events and festivals.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “The Hidden World of the Victorian Working Classes” Link: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “The Hidden World of the Victorian Working Classes” (HTML)

    Instructions: Review the list of occupations. Read this short section on the hidden world of the working class and craftsmen.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow's “The Hierarchies of Victorian Workers: Craftsman, Semi-skilled Factory Operatives, and Laborers” Link: The Victorian Web: George P. Landow’s “The Hierarchies of Victorian Workers: Craftsman, Semi-skilled Factory Operatives, and Laborers” (HTML)

    Instructions: Review the list of occupations. Read this short section on the hidden world of the working class and craftsmen.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “Victorian Working Women: Sweated Labor” Link: The Victorian Web: John Burnett’s “Victorian Working Women: Sweated Labor” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Beth Harris’s “‘Slaves of the Needle’: The Seamstress in the 1840s” Link: The Victorian Web: Beth Harris’s “‘Slaves of the Needle’: The Seamstress in the 1840s” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Dick Sullivan’s “Portrait of a Victorian” Link: The Victorian Web: Dick Sullivan’s “Portrait of a Victorian” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Erin Wells’s “The Governess and Class Prejudice” Link: The Victorian Web: Erin Wells’s “The Governess and Class Prejudice” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Emily Constable’s “Punch and Brontë on Training the Ideal Governess” Link: The Victorian Web: Emily Constable’s Punch and Brontë on Training the Ideal Governess” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Cynthia E. Huggins’ “The Victorian Governess: A Bibliography” Link: The Victorian Web: Cynthia E. Huggins’ “The Victorian Governess: A Bibliography” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Permission has been granted by The Victorian Web for any scholarly or educational purpose. The original version of this article can be found here.

  • Reading: The Workhouse: Peter Higginbotham’s “Introduction” Link: The Workhouse: Peter Higginbotham’s “Introduction” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this section.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The Workhouse: Peter Higginbotham’s “Entering and Leaving the Workhouse” Link: The Workhouse: Peter Higginbotham’s “Entering and Leaving the Workhouse” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this section.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 10 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.4 Case Study in the Victorian Novel 1: Selected Reading in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times and Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native   - Reading: The Project Gutenberg: Chapters IV through VI “Charles Dickens’ Hard Times Link: The Project Gutenberg: Chapters IV through VI “Charles Dickens’ Hard Times (HTML)

 Instructions: Scroll down to chapter four (IV) and read all of
chapters 4, 5 and 6. Pay special attention to the way Dickens
reveals the characters’ class position. Also note the way he
represents their spiritual state (who is kind and who is unkind in
Dickens’ world?)  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take you 1.5 hours.  

 Terms of Use: The article above is in the Public Domain.
  • Reading: The Project Gutenberg: Chapter 1, Part 2: “Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native” Link: The Project Gutenberg: Chapter 1, Part 2: “Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native” (HTML)

    Instructions: Scroll down to part two, chapter one and read about the native who is returning. Make special note of perceptions of class and of work among the characters.

    Reading this text and taking notes should take you 1 hour.

    How do these two readings help us see the divisions and conflicts between classes? How are politics and beliefs involved in these divisions?

    Terms of Use: The article above is in the Public Domain.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “ENGL 410 Subunit 1.2.4 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “ENGL 410 Subunit 1.2.4 Discussion Forum”

    Instructions: Spend a few minutes reflecting on the two novel excerpts you have just read. How do the authors helps us to see the divisions and conflicts between the classes? How are politics and beliefs involved in these divisions? Then, share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking the link above and creating a (free) account, if you have not already done so. Read responses that other students may have left and leave any comments you have on their feedback as well.

    Posting and responding to comments should take approximately 1 hour.