Dead, Dead! and Never called me Mother! - Sensation Fiction and the Victorians

Ref: C3528547

The 1860s saw the rise of the sensation novel, a genre of fiction written to excite and thrill the reader. Themes such as adultery, bigamy, insanity, murder and forgery abounded in sensation novels. Their notoriety served only to increase their popularity. Hugely popular and now critically admired, sensation novels combined thrilling plots with reflections on social anxieties.

Course aim

This course is designed to study a selection of sensation novels from the 1860s.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No prior knowledge of these authors or their works is necessary.

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

  • Explore a range of sensation novels.
  • Develop an awareness of the genre of sensation fiction.
  • Gain an understanding of the themes and features of classic sensation fiction.
  • Be conversant with formal aspects of fiction such as narrative structure, point of view, omniscient and unreliable narrator.
  • Be able to formulate their own response to a range of sensation fiction.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Students will need to have a copy of the appropriate 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 useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • The novels to be studied are Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret; Wilkie Collins's Armadale and Ellen (Mrs Henry) Wood's East Lynne. Students would need to have read the books in advance of the study weeks.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

Dead, Dead! and Never called me Mother! - Sensation Fiction and the Victorians Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online 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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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