Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Culture, Society and the Victorians: Public and Private Lives
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1 - 1 x 2,500 word essay  25%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 - 1 x 2,500 word essay  25%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   (1 x 3 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 - 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  25%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 - 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  25%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   1 x 3 hour supplementary (resit) examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a firm understanding of current approaches to and on-going debates on the history of Victorian culture.

Demonstrate a broad knowledge of Victorian cultural attitudes.

Demonstrate an ability to use and reflect critically upon a range of relevant primary and secondary material.

Demonstrate an ability to collect and analyse relevant historical evidence to produce appropriate arguments.

Demonstrate an ability to work independently and collaboratively.

Demonstrate the skills appropriate to the study of the history of Victorian culture and produce work in a professional manner.

Brief description

Who did the Victorians think they were? How did they see themselves and their culture? Victorians of all classes were acutely aware that they lived in a rapidly changing world and spilt a great deal of ink in making sense of their place in it. Often, bodily decorum was bound up in ideas about moral probity and as a result managing bodies played an important part in the efforts of Victorian individuals and groups at self-fashioning: remaking their identities for a modern, industrial and increasingly urban world. This module will look at how the Victorians looked at themselves from a variety of perspectives, ranging from fashion, to manners, medicine and sexuality and using sources ranging from manuals of etiquette to medical textbooks, advertisements and self-help magazines.


The module is designed to introduce students to the historical tools and perspectives of the history of Victorian culture, with particular attention to Victorian ideas concerning the relationship between body and self.


1. Revisiting the Victorian stereotype
2. State of the nation
3. Public, private and family life
4. Being seen
5. Earnestness and entertainment
6. Self-improvement
7. Muscular Christianity
8. Victorian bodies and minds
9. Sex and the Victorians
10. Victorian fashion
11. Buying the perfect body
12. The machinery of the body
13. Ladies and gentlemen
14. Incarceration and control
15. Nervousness and degeneration
16. Performance and respectability
17. The Victorian self
18. Looking back

1. Who were the Victorians?
2. Victorians in Private.
3. Victorians in Public.
4. The Philosophy of Self-help.
5. Victorian Bodies and Minds.
6. Consuming the Victorian Body.
7. Manners and Morals.
8. The Non-Victorians.
9. Being Respectable.
10. Looking Back.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6