What is the course about?
Victorian Britain saw an upsurge of religious affirmation in the context of increasing unease concerning the conventional assumptions of Christian faith. Tracing the evolution of Victorian poetry, we shall consider how the age’s most accomplished poets attempted to resolve that paradox.
This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We shall study a range of poems – from the late Romantic meditations of Wordsworth to the anguished self-interrogation of Tennyson; from the profound scepticism of Clough, Arnold, Browning and Hardy to the conflicted and exuberant testimony of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Gerard Manley Hopkins.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Demonstrate understanding of how these poets express doubt and derive consolation from religious contemplation.
Appreciate the depth, complexity and significance of the poets’ thought and styles.
Identify how the context of the poets’ lives and times influenced their work.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No particular prior knowledge will be assumed, but you will need to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of reading and discussing Victorian poetry. You will be interested in listening to – and learning from – the responses of other students to the works discussed.
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 poems to be studied. You may find it worthwhile to consult the following anthologies. However, there is absolutely no requirement to do so.
Victorian Poetry – An Annotated Anthology, ed. Francis O’Gorman, Blackwell, 2004
The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse, ed. Christopher Ricks, 1987.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please look for courses in Literature under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.