The British Novel

Ref: C2227147

This course explores and examines five British Novels from the 19th to the early 21st centuries. In doing so, it considers the recurring themes of social class, war and Empire and how the novels provide an angle of incidence from which to view the changes in British society over time.

Additional information about this course

Half term is on 17/02/2019

Course aim

This course will enhance understanding and appreciation of British Literature through the study of the development of the novel during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Pens, paper, access to a computer with an internet connection (preferred but not essential). One copy of Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Sign of Four, Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness, Virginia Wolfe: Mrs Dalloway, Ian McKewan; Atonement.|

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

  • Read and appreciate literature in a critical way.
  • Discuss the themes of social class, war and Empire as they are presented in the novels under study.
  • Make meaningful comparisons between the texts.
  • Understand some key concepts of literary criticism such as modernism, realism, postmodernism and postcolonialism

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 have access to and be encouraged to comment on a blog.

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
  • You will be encouraged to participate in writing on a blog

What else do I need to know?

  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • You will need access to a copy of the books listed.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You should be able to do a GCSE or A level in English Literature after this course

Download full course information sheet

The British Novel

Enrolment Conditions

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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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