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ENGL1032 - Late Victorian texts and contexts
Instructor(s)
Dr. Zhang
Semester
2022-2023 Second Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Friday , 9:30 am - 12:20 pm , CPD-LG.63
Prerequisite
A minimum Level 5 in English Language HKDSE exam, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.

In this course, we will trace social, scientific, and cultural developments in the late-nineteenth century, a period known distinctively as the fin de siècle. The certainties and optimism that had propelled the advances and discoveries of the Victorian age were beginning to collapse and there was much speculation about the degeneration of Victorian Britain. Throughout the course, students will explore how writers respond to the anxieties that emerged towards the end of the century, focusing on issues concerning class, gender, science and evolution, technological developments, art, and education. The course will be divided into two sections: the first half will centre on debates about social order and individual development from Mid-Victorian Britain to the fin de siècle. The second half will examine texts engaged with the relationship between science, technology, and culture. Throughout, literary texts will be read alongside significant cultural texts, including those discussing science, political economy, sociology, and the fine arts.

 

Topics

  • ‘Modern' concerns in nineteenth-century literature and culture: class, gender, science, sensibility, art, technology, education
  • Utopia and dystopia
  • Self and society
  • The fin de siècle aesthetic

 

Objectives

In lectures, tutorials, and guided reading exercises (individual and group), students will learn how to study, analyse and talk about representative late nineteenth-century writing, employing central literary and rhetorical terminology. These exercises that aim to hone students’ observation and reading skills will be complemented by writing exercises where students learn to form an argument, employ critical sources and frameworks and, on the whole, structure an essay.

 

Organisation

We will meet once a week, for a 3-hour session on Fridays 9.30-12.20. The first two hours will consist of a lecture and group exercises. After the second hour, the group splits up and only one half of students stay behind for the tutorial. Here, we discuss in a smaller group and in more depth certain topics further but also do some hands-on work on how to read literature and structure and write an essay. We will form 2 tutorial groups in the first week of the semester. Tutorial sessions will begin in the week after the add/drop period.

 

Assessment

Attendance and Class Participation – 20 percent
Term Paper 1  – 35 percent
Term Paper 2  – 45 percent

 

Texts

Students are expected to get a hold of copies of the following texts.

  • William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890) (Penguin Classics)
  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895) (Penguin Classics)

The other texts will be reproduced in the course handbook:

  • John Henry Newman, from The Idea of a University (1852)
  • John Ruskin, from Unto this Last (1860)
  • Walter Pater, from Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873)
  • Thomas Henry Huxley, “Science and Culture” (1880)
  • Matthew Arnold, “Literature and Science” (1883)
  • May Kendall, ‘Lay of the Trilobite’, ‘Ballad of the Ichthyosaurus’, ‘The Philanthropist and the Jelly-fish’, ‘Woman’s Future’ (1887)
  • Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” (1891)
  • William Morris, “How I Became a Socialist” (1894)

Instructor(s)
Dr. Zhang
Semester
2022-2023 Second Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Friday , 9:30 am - 12:20 pm , CPD-LG.63
Prerequisite
A minimum Level 5 in English Language HKDSE exam, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.