Literature and Culture in 1859

Module code: EN7127

Module co-ordinator: Professor Gail Marshall

In publishing terms, 1859 was an extraordinary year. It saw the publication (or the serialisation) of a number of books that would become defining texts for the Victorian period. Culturally and politically, 1859 was a year in which Britain continued to enjoy and to consolidate its position as a world leader in industrial and political terms. The texts we'll study in this module demonstrate some of the terms upon which that success was achieved and the modes necessary to its continuation. We'll consider these texts in the moment of their first publication, looking for possible connections between them, but also seeking to appreciate the originality of each. We'll also explore the ways in which contemporaries responded to the challenges that many of the texts posed.

There will be opportunity during the module for access to 1859 editions of the texts, and for independent research into the events of 1859.


  • One 4,000-word essay