What is the course about?
Dickens adapted words from Shakespeare to describe his periodical All the Year Round – and by implication his central purpose as a writer of novels. By close analysis of key scenes from three major works, we shall illuminate precisely how Dickens presents the crucial life choices that we make and the often unforeseeable – but sustained – impact that these have on ourselves and on others.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We shall consider, in context, a selection of the most revealing passages in three seminal novels – Hard Times, Great Expectations and Little Dorrit. In the process, we will clarify the moral, ethical and imaginative foundations of Dickens’s art. Some of the major themes that will emerge include:
• the lifegiving significance of imagination;
• the importance of seeing ourselves, our actions and our assumptions, truthfully;
• the necessity of forbearance and compassion.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Demonstrate insight into how Dickens depicts the attitudes we adopt and the impact of our choices.
Appreciate the depth, complexity and relevance of Dickens’s art.
Identify how Dickens’s life and circumstances influenced his work.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge will be assumed, in that the context of each extract will be clearly explained. However, your experience of the course will be enhanced if you are able to read (or remind yourself of) any of the chosen novels in advance. You will need to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of reading and discussing Dickens, and you will interested in listening to – and learning from – the responses of other students to the works involved.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teacher explanation; group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No. You will be provided with photocopies of the texts to be studied. Feel free to bring copies of the novels if you wish, but this is not essential.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
For other Drama/Literature courses please check the Literature programme under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.