Victorian Lives: Life-Writing in the Victorian Period

Module code: EN7125

Module co-ordinator: Dr Julian North

This module explores nineteenth-century life-writing through a wide variety of biographical and autobiographical texts, including literary Lives, working-class oral life histories, biography as a Victorian institution (the Dictionary of National Biography), and female autobiography. We will look at the construction of the self, issues of censorship, auto/biographical anxieties, and the influence of class and gender in Victorian life-writing.

Authors studied will include:

  • Lytton Strachey
  • Thomas De Quincey
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Thomas Carlyle
  • Henry Mayhew
  • J.S. Mill
  • Margaret Oliphant
  • Edmund Gosse


  • One 4,000-word essay