Spring 2024 - ENGL 330 OL01

The Long Nineteenth Century (4)

Class Number: 4866

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses.



Study of literature and culture during the long nineteenth century (c. 1780 – 1920). Selected content may include a variety of forms and genres and may consider different cultural and geographical contexts within local, national, colonial, imperial, global, transnational, and /or planetary frameworks. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught.


The One and the Many in the Victorian Novel

Why do so many Victorian novels have individual names as their titles?  What were Victorian novelists trying to capture in these stories focussed on individuals?  And how do these individual characters relate to the larger social worlds of which they are a part?  In this course, we'll look at 4 novels from key moments in the nineteenth century in order to trace the development of Victorian theories of identity. We'll pay particular attention to how these novels draw on new models of psychology and offer new ways of thinking about a rapidly industrialising world and the changes that come in its wake.  We'll also consider our own continuing fascination with these novels and their numerous film and musical adaptations.

Topics will include:

  • the role of Doppelgängers, detectives and multiple narratives in the construction of Victorian identity
  • Victorian discourses of psychology, including physiognomy, phrenology, associationism and mesmerism
  • the relationship of outer physical signs to inner mental states and processes
  • the literature of "sensation"
  • empire and identity
  • notions of normality, pathology, insanity, will, self-control, addiction, heredity and degeneration in relation to issues of gender, class and race




Our course learning goals:

  • develop an understanding of a range of nineteenth-century authors and genres
  • develop an understanding of the relationship between Victorian literature and the period’s historical and social contexts
  • learn to engage with Victorianist criticism and interdisciplinary ways of reading fiction to develop arguments in conversation with scholars
  • develop communication and analytical skills through responding to the course readings in writing
  • hone the ability to write cogent, persuasive essays



  • Reading Responses 20%
  • Discussion Posts 20%
  • Short Essay (1200-1500 words) 25%
  • Final Essay (2000-2500 words) 35%



You will need to order all 4 novels for the course on your own. They have not been ordered from the SFU bookstore. Please order the editions I have listed here:

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre  (Oxford World Classics, ISBN: 978-0198804970)
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics, ISBN: 978-0141439747)
M.E. Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret (Oxford World Classics, ISBN: 978-0199577033)
Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Norton Critical Editions, ISBN: 978-0393679212)

These books can be orderd through a local bookstore (Pulp Fiction, Massy Books, Iron Dog Books) as well as the usual large chains (Amazon, Indigo). If possible, go local!

All other supplementary materials will be available on our Canvas website.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html