Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar. 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

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


"Fin de siecle": The end of an epoch? The end of civilisation? The dawning of a new age? These were some of the most important questions posed by writers at the end of the last century. This option aims to introduce students to some important aspects of late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century culture by exploring the ways in which these questions were formulated, and how they intersected and interacted with other anxieties of the turn-of-the-century period, in a range of texts - literary, journalistic and scientific.

1. The sense of an ending

The "fin de siecle" and ideas of decadence and degeneration.
Main text: Max Nordau, "Degeneration"

2. Sexual anarchy (i)

The New Woman: an examination of the debate about the New Woman and the New Woman Fiction.
Main texts: Ella Hepworth Dixon, "The Story of a Modern Woman", Elaine Showalter (ed.) "The Daughters of Decadence".
Thomas Hardy, "Jude the Obscure"

3. Sexual anarchy (ii)

The Homosexual: the new sex psychology, the construction of the homosexual, and a crisis in masculinity.
Main texts: Case studies from the sex psychology literature (some photocopied material provided) Oscar Wilde, "The Picture
of Dorian Gray". Reference will also be made to some of the texts to be discussed in 4 and 5.

4. The fin de siecle subject and the birth of psychoanalysis

Main texts: Bram Stoker, "Dracula", Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"

5. Civilisation and its discontents: Survivals and regression

Main texts: Rider Haggard, "She", Bram Stoker, "Dracula", Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and
Mr Hyde"

Primary Texts

In the case of novels which are available in a wide range of cheap editions I have not specified a particular edition.

H Havelock Ellis, "Man and Woman" (1894)
Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer, "Studies on Hysteria" (1895, trans. 1909) (Penguin, 1991)
Ella Hepworth Dixon, "The Story of a Modern Woman" (1894) (Merlin Press, 1990)
H Rider Haggard, "She" (1887)
Thomas Hardy, "Jude the Obscure" (1895)
Max Nordau, "Degeneration" (1892, trans. 1895) (University of Nebraska Press, 1993)
Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1886)
Elaine Showalter (ed) "Daughters of Decadence" (Virago, 1993)
Bram Stoker, "Dracula" (1897)
Oscar Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891)


This module is at CQFW Level 7