Module code: ELI3049

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MATHIESON CE Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code

Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework BLOG POST (500 WORDS) 20%
Coursework ESSAY (2500 WORDS) 80%

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module explores the relationship between national and imperial identities in novels from the 1850s to 1890s by writers including Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins. The module introduces students to contextual debates about the nation-state and its imperial engagements, and seeks to understand how novelists respond and contribute to these ideas through literary fiction. The module engages with these themes through a focus on concepts of space and mobility, using literary journeys as a way into understanding how novelists construct a dialogue between national and imperial spaces in literary texts.

Module aims

Broaden and deepen contextual knowledge of nation and empire in the Victorian period

Develop understanding of how literary texts respond to and inform contextual debates

Introduce concepts of space and mobility as theories to engage with literary texts

Develop and strengthen skills in close reading and analysis of literary texts

Advance students’ critical thinking and application of theoretical frameworks to literature

Improve oral and written communication skills

Strengthen students’ ability to undertake independent research, including using digital and online materials for research

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of contexts of nation and empire in the Victorian period K
Understand how to locate analyses of the Victorian novel in these broader historical and socio-cultural contexts, and use detailed close-reading to support this KC
Demonstrate advanced critical thinking and application of theoretical frameworks to literature C
Be able to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in oral and written formats, including online writing T
Work independently in conducting research P
Demonstrate skills in independent research, including competency in using digital tools and materials for writing and research PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Week 1: Introduction: nation and empire, concepts and definitions

Harriet Martineau, British Rule in India: A Historical Sketch (1857)


Weeks 2-3: Moving between nation and empire; Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853)

Additional resource: Dickens “The Niger Expedition”, The Examiner (1848)


Week 4: Empire at home; Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford (1853)

Additional resource: selection of reports on the Great Exhibition from The Times


Weeks 5-6: The threat of empire; Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (1868)

Additional resources: Robert Knox, The Races of Men (1850)


Weeks 7-8: Nation and Narration; George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876)

            Additional resource: Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869)


Week 9-10: Gendering Empire; H. Rider Haggard, She (1887)

            Additional resource: Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa (1897)


Week 11: Urban imperialism; William Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out (1890) 

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive/ analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical, and professional skills. The delivery of the module through two-hour lecture-seminars places an emphasis on student-led learning to develop cognitive and analytical skills in analysing fiction in its historical, socio-political and historical contexts, and enables students to develop skills in communicating and debating ideas. The module content is research-led and makes use of an online blog platform to support and advance students’ independent study through the integration of digital resources.


This relates to the programme learning and teaching strategy, which, at FHEQ Level 6, is designed to develop subject knowledge through extended two-hour seminars and to develop transferable, practical, and professional skills, with an emphasis on sophisticated student-led involvement, critical analysis, discussion, and rhetorical ability.


The learning and teaching methods include:


•           2-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.


Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed to assess professional/practical skills in communicating ideas orally and transferable skills in working individually and as part of a group. It also assesses subject knowledge relating to formal, contextual, critical, and theoretical approaches to the study of Victorian literature. Seminars also assess cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in the analysis of literary form and language.


The 500-word blog post and 2500-word essay assess subject knowledge relating to formal, contextual, critical, and theoretical approaches to the analysis of literary form and language, cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking, and professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing. The blog post and essay also assesses transferable skills, namely the ability to conduct research for written work in an organised and critical fashion and to develop and communicate imaginative and rigorous arguments in different formats, i.e. through writing a shorter online blog-post and a longer research essay.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

500-word blog post
2500-word essay


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, tutor feedback in seminars, feedback on the first assessment (the blog post), and a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.