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International Summer School

Victorian Decadents, Degenerates, Goths and Global Citizens

Formerly known as Victorian Revolutions and Evolutions: Literature and Visual Culture, this module has now changed title to better reflect the variety of perspectives and ideas looked at within the module itself.

This module explores a wide range of visual and literary texts, from gothic novels to Pre-Raphaelite paintings, which provide a sense of the extraordinary historical richness of the Victorian era.

In this module, we will study a series of major Victorian texts in detail, including a novel by Charles Dickens; some poetry by Tennyson and Browning; short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson, H G Wells and Mary Braddon; as well as art and architecture. We will place the literature and art in their historical, social, political and cultural contexts. The module is organized around the following significant themes, which galvanized the Victorians, as much as they concern us today:

  • the uses of the past
  • the condition of England
  • the woman question
  • commerce and the market
  • nationalism, imperialism, and global travel
  • urban life and the environment
  • science, medicine and the arts
  • the body

The sessions will be made up of lectures and seminar discussions, in which students are expected to participate. We will examine literary, visual and non-literary texts with issues of wider social, cultural, and historical context. In seminars we will read texts - whether literary, visual, historical, philosophical, or other - critically and in detail. We will also visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) to explore Victorian objects, architecture and art, and to the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum to look at various forms of Victorian visual entertainment.


Module at a Glance

Module Title Victorian Decadents, Degenerates, Goths and Global Citizens
Module Code ISS2005
Module Convenor Dr Corinna Wagner
Credit Value 7.5 ECTS
Scheduled Teaching 24 x 2 Hour Sessions
Total Module Hours 150 Hours
Guided Independent Study

Pre-Reading Before Arrival
Preparatory readings for lectures and seminars
Researching, preparing and delivering a group presentation
Researching and completing two written assignments

Formative Assessment

Critical Commentary– 750 words – Oral Feedback

Summative Assessment

Written assignment – 1500 words – 60% of credit – written feedback

Group Presentation – 20 minutes – 40% of credit – verbal and written feedback

Sample Pre Reading

Victorian Literature: A Sourcebook, ed. John Plunkett, Ana Parejo Vadillo, Regenia Gagnier, Angelique Richardson, Rick Rylance, Paul Young (Palgrave, 2011) *highly recommended

Sample Lecture Sessions

The Gothic: Art, Gender and Sexuality
Victorian Psychologies

Apply now

Applications for 2024 are now open. Please visit our How to Apply section to read the guidelines to find out more. 

Watch this clip of one of our students talking about his experience on the course

"The balance of the open-mindedness and easy going attitudes of the professors made our learning fun and exciting. The professors had very smart perspectives and were very skilled in conveying important information."

Yanda, Sebalas Maret University, Indonesia