Considering I chose two of them myself, today I’d like to talk about the modules I’ll be studying for the first semester of my final year. I mentioned them last week, but that was a long time ago, so I’ll remind you that they’re the Compulsory Dissertation, Romantics and Victorians: Literature 1789-187, and Literature and Culture of the 1890s — the latter of which was chosen from a long list by me and for the former of which it was up to me to decide the topic.
I’ve talked about Leicester’s fairly short English dissertation before, in a post which I see has an image of a shark in it, but when I was writing that and selecting that picture of a shark, I didn’t have as strong a feeling about what my topic would be. Now I know much further the scope of my field. Perhaps it was foolish to choose Dante and Milton, two of the most studied writers in history. But has anybody studied the emphatic prevalence of paganism and devilry in their work? They have? Oh. Well, not like this they haven’t.
Romantics and Victorians is really quite self-explanatory, and the module is assessed by examination. The three core texts are Middlemarch by George ‘I’m Just Going to Keep On Writing’ Eliot (just kidding George, it’s actually rather good), In Memoriam by Tennyson, and The Prelude by Wordsworth. But naturally there’s Dickens, Christina Rossetti, and the whole Victorian gang. So let’s hope I make it through the course without dying of consumption or heroic bloodletting.
Literature and Culture of the 1890s won’t need an explanation regarding the ‘what’, but perhaps the ‘why’ needs some clarity. The module focuses on the Victorian fin de siècle and the shocking writing it brought about, occupied with decadence, horror, fantasy, progress, and evolution. The texts aren’t a neat little series but for an idea of what I’m getting at look at Dracula, Oscar Wilde’s plays, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ibsen — all groundbreaking in very different ways.
Next week I’ll give over some time to talking about some things which I hope will be useful to all the upcoming freshers and froshers, as the university year is nearly upon us.