9 units (3-0-6) | third term
Charles Dickens and London have perhaps the most famous relationship of any writer and city in English. In this course, we will investigate both the London Dickens knew, and the portrait of the city that he painted, by reading some of Dickens's great mid-career novels alongside a selection of primary and secondary historical sources. We will think about the gap-or overlap- between history and fiction, the idea of the novelist as alternative historian, and the idea of the novel as historical document. Historical topics covered may include: the development of the Victorian police force; plague and public health; Victorian poverty; colonialism and imperialism; Dickens and his illustrators; Victorian exhibition culture; and marriage and the cult of domesticity, among others. In addition to written work, students should expect to be responsible for making a short research presentation at some point in the term.