Victorian Novels Of Detection

Ref: C3741499

The origins of the modern detective novel can be traced in the works of some of the most popular novelists of the nineteenth century. We examine the key societal and cultural elements giving rise to the phenomenal success of the genre through the study of a variety of texts of the period. Core texts to be studied are George Eliot's 'Adam Bede', Thomas Hardy's 'Desperate Remedies', Anthony Trollope's 'The Eustace Diamonds'.

Course aim

This course aims to introduce students to some of the literary, social, cultural and historical features leading to the development of the popular genre of the detective novel throughout the Victorian period 1837-1901.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Define key historical, social and cultural contexts giving rise to the genre of detective fiction.
  • Describe key features of the character and purpose of the figure of the detective
  • Locate texts within the broader literary field at the period
  • Describe some formal and stylistic features of the popular Victorian novel

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time

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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It would be helpful if you have read 'Adam Bede' before the start of the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course outline

Victorian Novels Of Detection 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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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