MA Nineteenth Century Studies
To help you feel prepared for your postgraduate studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now.
You will be given more information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks and journals we have for you to access, when you begin your studies.
In the meantime, you may want to begin exploring some of the items below:
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
There are many cheap and free editions available which are fine for general use. We recommend a good academic edition like Oxford, Penguin or Broadview.
Texts for the first few weeks of term will comprise Romantic poetry and prose freely available on the VLE alongside relevant critical material. Texts for purchase include:
- Anonymous, The Woman of Colour, ed. Lyndon J. Dominique (Broadview, 2007) [Week 4]
- Sarah Perry, Melmoth (Profile, 2018) [Week 10]
- Chris Riddell, Ghost Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (Pan Macmillan, 2013) [Week 11]
Texts for this module include a broad range of novels, journalism, art, historical sources, poetry, short stories and more. All shorter texts will be provided on the VLE. The big texts to read in advance are:
- Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1854) [Week 2]
- Mary Seacole, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands (1857) [Week 4]
- Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1860-61) [Week 5]
- Henry Rider Haggard, She (1887) [Week 8]
Texts and sources for this interdisciplinary module will include digital newspaper archives and primary sources, which will be provided via the VLE and in class.
- Lee Jackson, Palaces of Pleasure: From Music Halls to the Seaside to Football, How the Victorians Invented Mass Entertainment (Yale, 2019).
This is an interdisciplinary MA, drawing on approaches from literary studies, history, and different disciplines in the humanities. We will teach you all of these and help you build your skills – we do not expect you to have all of this knowledge coming into the degree! If you wish to get a good foundation in the approaches we’ll be using on this degree, then you may want to look at:
- Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, This Thing Called Literature (London: Routledge, 2015)
- Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 5th edition (London: Routledge, 2016)
- Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography: An Introductory Guide (2012)
- The Cambridge Companion series are excellent introductions to specific literary periods, movements, and authors. The Cambridge Companion includes companions to ‘British Romantic Poetry’, ‘Fiction in the Romantic Period’, ‘The Victorian Novel’, ‘Victorian Poetry’, ‘Charles Dickens’, ‘The Fin de Siecle’. Most of the Companions will be available for free through your library account.
Depending on your areas of interest, you might want to visit the following websites:
- The Victorian Web features introductory articles on key aspects of Victorian culture and society.
- Lee Jackson’s The Dictionary of Victorian London features lots of fascinating nineteenth-century sources.
- The Internet Archive features thousands of digitised books and periodicals from the nineteenth century. See what you can unearth!
- The British Newspaper Archive (subscription required) features millions of pages of nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines — it’s a great tool for finding new research topics.
- Dr Andrew McInnes is currently leading a project on‘The Romantic Ridiculous’ — check out his project blog to learn about his work-in-progress and get ready for our Romantic Movements module.
- Dr Bob Nicholson’s twitter feeds (@DigiVictorian and @VictorianHumour) feature thousands of curious Victorian discoveries, some of which we’ll be exploring in Entertaining the Victorians.
Things to do now
To help you prepare for your studies, you may find it useful to start reading Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities — we’ll be using in the core skills module during semester one.
Meet your programme lead and course specialists:
Dr Bob Nicholson (MA Programme Leader)
Reader in History and Digital Humanities, Dr Bob Nicholson works on the history of nineteenth-century popular culture and leads the Entertaining the Victorians module in semester two.
Dr Laura Eastlake
Dr Laura Eastlake is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature. Her interests include Victorian masculinity, classical reception, and gothic fiction. She leads the Victorian Decades module in semester two.
Dr Andrew McInnes
Reader in Romanticisms, Dr Andrew McInnes is currently leading an AHRC-funded project exploring the ‘Romantic Ridiculous.’ He leads the Romantic Movements module in semester one.