Dickens and the 1840s

Module code: EN7140

The 1840s was a key decade in the life and career of Charles Dickens. This was a period of innovation and growing artistic maturity, as Dickens made the transition from the loose episodic plotting of his early serial fiction to the scrupulously planned instalments of Dombey and Son. In this decade, Dickens achieved astonishing commercial and critical success, from the bestselling Old Curiosity Shop to the novel that he later described as his ‘favourite child’, David Copperfield. However, he also penned several notable failures and the unevenness, uncertainty, and experimentation that characterises this period of Dickens’s writing is part of what makes it so rewarding to study. This module offers you the opportunity to explore a range of Dickens’s serial novels from the 1840s in relation to their literary and historical contexts, as well as shorter fiction and travel writing. It also includes a Special Collections workshop, which highlights the wealth of Dickens resources available to support your research.

Learning

  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 1 hour of workshop
  • 30 minutes of tutorial
  • 138.5 hours of independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 3,000 words (100%)