Literature: Madness and 19thC Literature

Ref: C2419861

Learners will read selected passages from 5 novels/short stories that feature various aspects of Victorian psychology/psychiatry. We will discuss the themes that arise from these each week, plus what we make of the writers’ approaches to the subject of mental illness. In class we will also read and discuss short selections from psychiatric 'experts' of the Victorian era.

Course aim

INSANITY IN THE 19TH CENTURY: Exploring 19th-century views of insanity by examining various works of fiction and the medical background against which they were written

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

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

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

  • * Define key diagnoses made by 19th-century psychiatrists.
  • * Identify the opposition that was expressed to each of these theories.
  • * Identify the attitude and approach to the subject of mental illness shown by these giants of 19th-century fiction, and the narrative strategies they use.
  • * Pursue further reading on these subjects, with a detailed bibliography/secondary reading list

How will I be taught?

  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Teaching will be by lecture and seminar/group discussion. Readings are to be done in the learner's own time: reading lists will be supplied well in advance. Typically, each extract will be no longer than 7,000 words / 6 hours of reading.

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?

  • You will need to source the books from which we will be extracting passages. All are available as secondhand editions or from your local library. Most can be downloaded for free. Apart from that, notepad and pen — an an inquiring mind!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • There is a provisional reading list available.

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Literature: Madness and 19thC Literature


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing