LIT266 : Secrets and Lies: Victorian Life-Writing
Dr Amber Regis
How do lives become stories? How is the telling of life-stories shaped by history, society and culture? This module interrogates life-writing traditions across the long nineteenth century, from Romantic autobiography-in-verse to the “new” biography of the Bloomsbury Group and Modernism. Students will consider the anxieties raised by life-writing and its troublesome relationship to truth and public exposure, secrecy, lies and censorship. Major works, including Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë
, will be read alongside more unusual, exceptional forms—such as working-class autobiography, prison-writing, homosexual confession, and the biography of a dog. Students will explore a range of formal and thematic strategies at work in nineteenth-century life-writing, relating these to contemporary historical and cultural debates. These will include: sexual identity and morality; public and private spheres; health and psychology; constructions of class and gender. This module introduces students to the diverse literary and print culture of the long nineteenth century and encompasses multiple genres: biography, autobiography, essays, poetry and fiction. Writers studied include: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Elizabeth Gaskell, John Addington Symonds, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and William Wordsworth.
This module is delivered via two sessions each week: the first takes the form of a seminar, and the second takes the form of a workshop led by the tutor. Up to five seminars will be student-led as part of the module assessment. In small groups, students will: 1) introduce a text and topic, 2) set activities for their peers, and 3) manage class discussion.
25%: Student-led seminar (assessed group work). 25%: 1000 word close-reading exercise. 50%: 2000 word essay.
Dr Amber Regis
Information last changed: Tuesday 14th of March 2017 :: 11:10:34 AM (GMT)
Please note: This module
may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the