The Golden Age of the British Short Story 1890-1914

Course Dates: 19/09/22 - 28/11/22
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Keeley Street
The years 1890 to 1914 were a golden age for British writers of short stories. As the country moved from Victorian certainties to an unknown, possibly exciting, possibly frightening future, writers found the short story form perfectly suited to their concerns. The roll call is an impressive one: from Kipling, Hardy, HG Wells and Conan Doyle through Chesterton and Conrad to Katherine Mansfield and DH Lawrence.
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Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00

Course Code: HLT170

Mon, day, 19 Sep - 28 Nov '22

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Lines open Monday-Friday 12:00-18:00

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What is the course about?

We’ll be exploring the development of different ideas about the short story form in the run up to our period, and reading some of the stories by acknowledged masters of the form. Some were traditional in their approach, others were excited by the possibilities of Modernism, by writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. All produced work not matched by short story writers in Britain before or since - truly a Golden Age. The emphasis will be on close study (and enjoyment) of the language, imagery and ideas of the stories themselves.

What will we cover?

This literature course will delve into the literary world of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain – a world dominated by the rise of wide circulation magazines in which writers could explore the pressing issues of their day: the machine age, political upheaval, sexual emancipation, the growth of cities, philosophical anxiety and the decline of empire.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Recognise recurring themes in modern short stories
• Relate these to the wider world of modern culture
• Feel confident enough to explore further study of modern fiction on your own.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is introductory. An enthusiasm for reading and discussion is all that is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition, small group work and class discussion. Videos and clips will also be shown and discussed. You will asked to read the texts before the class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Students should obtain a copy of The Golden Age of British Short Stories (Penguin 2021 ed Philip Hensher)

Apart from the reading material, you should bring with you pens, notepaper and file in which to store handouts and other course materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for HLT126 American Gothic: the darker side of fiction, taught by the same tutor on Tuesdays in term one and HLT198 Great American Stories, taught by the same tutor in term two.
Check out other Literature courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature at

Julian Birkett

Julian Birkett is a teacher and writer specialising in modern literature. He previously worked in the Arts department at the BBC as a producer of series such as The Late Show, Modern Poets in their Own Words, The Victorians and The Culture Show. He has taught in London and at the University of Mumbai.He aims to create a friendly but thoughtful atmosphere in his City Lit classes and to provide a stimulating variety of activities from tutor input to discussion to group work and video clips.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.