Module Identifier EN33420  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Julia H M Reid  
Semester Available semesters 1 and 2  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs seminar workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

- demonstrate a knowledge and critical understanding of the set texts
- locate the set texts in some of the contexts of their production
- explain and engage with relevant aspects of recent critical debates about the material
- produce well organized, coherently argued and critically informed written work
- engage in coherent oral discussion of the material studied

Brief description

In the last two decades of the nineteenth century British, (and, more particularly, English) culture was pervaded by a network of fears, phobias and moral panics. These were related to a number of longer term developments which took on a new force at the fin de siècle: the explosion of discourse about sexuality, and particularly the pathologisation of sexuality by the new 'sex scientists'; the clamour about the subjection of women and the subject of woman, and the appearance of the New Woman; anxieties about England's role as the civiliser of the dark places of the earth; fears about the decline of the race and the physical and moral degeneration of an urban population.

Various combination of these fears, phobias and fantasies were articulated in a remarkable series of literary texts in a range of fictional genres. Many of these texts have clearly retained their force and power during the decades that have intervened between the last fin de siècle and our own. Most of them have been constantly in print since their first publication, and some of them have been translated into other cultural forms, particularly film. This module aims to explore these texts in relation to their broader cultural contexts. We shall examine individual texts in detail, but we shall also be concerned to look for connections and recurring figures and images.


Seminar Programme

1. Introduction to the fin de siecle: Text: Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst (eds), The Fin de Siecle (Oxford University Press, 2000)

2. The Dark places of the earth: Rider Haggard's She

3. Monstrous men and New Women: Bram Stoker's Dracula

4. Masculine Others (1): R.L.Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

5. Masculine Others (2): Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

6. The New Woman Writing (1): Text: Carolyn Christensen Nelson (ed.) A New Woman Reader (Broadview Press, 2001)

7. The New Woman Writing (2): Menie Muriel Dowie's Gallia (Dent:Everyman)

8. The new sex science and the birth of psychoanalysis: Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst (eds) The Fin de Siecle (Oxford University Press, 2000)

9. Gender Trouble: Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure

10. The fin de siecle: some conclusions

Detailed bibliographies will be given out in class.   You will find it useful to look at one or more of the books listed below before the course starts. Unless otherwise stated all the novels are publish by both Penguin and Oxfor World's Classics

Reading Lists

** Recommended Consultation
Patrick Brantlinger (1988) Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914 Cornell University Press
Joseph Bristow (1991) Empire Boys Harper Collins
Bram Djikstra (1986) Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of feminine evil in fin de siecle culture Oxford UP
Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken (eds) (1995) Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle Cambridge UP
Lyn Pykett (ed) (1996) Reading Fin de Siecle Fictions Edward Arnold
Elaine Showalter (1992) Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture a the Fin de Siecle Virago
John Stokes (1989) In the Nineties Harvester Wheatsheaf


This module is at CQFW Level 6