Victorian Vices: Dippers, Duffers and Snoozers - The Victorian 'Underworld’

Ref: C2346522

This lecture will take a look at the Victorian ‘underworld’, which held a particular fascination and fear for the Victorian middle classes. Who knew what dangers lurked in 'the dark continent that is within easy walking distance of the General Post Office', or even in the 'rough' areas of provincial towns and cities - or what sort of threat the 'duffers, dippers and snoozers' of the underworld might pose to respectable family life and social stability? We will look with a critical eye at accounts from Henry Mayhew’s 'London Labour and the London Poor', the works of Charles Dickens, and the commentary of social investigators such as George Simms and Andrew Mearns in the later 19th century, considering how far they were a deliberate attempt to shock and scare those with the power to address social evils. We will also learn a little underworld slang.

Course aim

An introduction to the Victorian ‘underworld’, which held a particular fascination for the Victorian middle classes - both in terms of its ‘vicious’ characters and the dangers they appeared to present to family life and social stability.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

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

  • Give examples of the behaviour attributed to the inhabitants of the Victorian 'underworld'.
  • Identify the specific Victorian values that this behaviour was seen as undermining.
  • Assess how far literary accounts of the 'underworld' were a deliberate attempt to shock and scare those with the power to address social evils.
  • Know where to access additional sources for further independent study.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

There is nothing you need to know or bring to the course.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Victorian Vices: Dippers, Duffers and Snoozers - The Victorian 'Underworld’

Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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