Course Description

Course description:

In today’s popular imagination, the Victorian era is often seen as a time of decorum and moral propriety. Yet, the late Victorian period (c. 1880 to 1901) saw the upheaval of social and sexual mores, the rise of colonialism, and the introduction of new technologies like phonograph. In this course, we will discuss figures such as the New Woman and the Dandy, the expansion of Queen Victoria’s empire, the rise of detective fiction and the police, and the role of technology in an increasingly urban society. Works of literature will include Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm as well as selected poems by authors including Mary Robinson, Alice Meynell, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Prerequisites: English 302 and either English 240 or 340.

Texts and readings:

  • Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Thomas Hardy. Tess of the D’Urbervilles. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Olive Schreiner. The Story of an African Farm. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Oscar Wilde. The Major Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.


N.B. Selected poems as well as secondary criticism, available on our course website.