The Bronte's

Ref: C3528086

This course will study a range of novels by the three Bronte sisters. Anne, Emily and Charlotte wrote some of the most popular novels to emerge in the nineteenth century and they are novels which have had an enduring appeal to the present day.

Additional information about this course

To enrol, please contact Pat Halliwell at or ring 01275 875349. No session on 02/06/2016.

Course aim

This course will provide an opportunity for close and detailed study some of the novels that collectively form the Brontë canon, providing a sense of the cultural, ideological and historical contexts that inform these texts.

Who is the course for?

This course is open to all students wishing to gain or develop a knowledge of the writings of the Bronte sisters. No previous study of these novels is necessary.

What topics will this course cover

This course will begin with an introduction to the Bronte sisters and then move through an examination of a number of their novels. We will consider the idea of the Bronte myth, the female bildungsroman, the gothic and gender in the novels. We will also look at ideas of romance and realism, masculinity and maternal power and the social and historical contexts which informed the writing of these works of fiction.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Have developed their awareness and knowledge of the writing of the Bronte sisters. 2. Gain an understanding of some of the social, cultural and historical contexts influencing the writing of the Bronte sisters. 3. Be conversant with formal aspects of fiction such as narrative structure, point of view, omniscient and unreliable narrators. 4. Be able to formulate their own ideas and responses to a range of work by the Bronte sisters. 5. Be confident in class participation and in the critical evaluation of primary source material.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Progress will be assessed in a number of ways. Seminar participation will be an indicator of growing confidence in discussing these texts and tutor and fellow student response to student contribution will encourage and stimulate increased participation. There will be a range of group and pair activities set during tutorials where students will be able to demonstrate their developing understanding of the texts and the issues surrounding them. Contributions in all forms will receive tutor response so that all students are confident that their developing awareness and understanding of the texts is being assessed and receiving constructive and encouraging feedback.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Students will need to have a copy of each text available to them on the appropriate week. The text can be in the form of a hard copy or on an electronic device. Pens and paper for note taking would also be needed.

Reading and information sources

It is desirable that students will have read the set texts by the appropriate week. The course will be structured as follows: Week 1: Introduction and Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey. Week 2: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Week 3: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Week 4: Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Week 5: Charlotte Bronte's Shirley. Week 6: Consolidation and conclusion.

What could the course lead to?

This course will provide an introduction to the work of the Bronte sisters. This would provide excellent background to future courses which could explore the Bronte fiction not considered here and more detailed study of the three sisters and their work individually.

Download full course outline

The Bronte's Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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