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ENGL3604 Victorian Dreams and the Technological World

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the English and Literary Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
This unit explores a range of noted Victorian writers whose work suggests that era's engagement with modernity. This is expressed both through polemical discontent, but also through dreams of the possibility of a new and better world emerging from technological change and scientific achievement. The unit explores a range of Victorian dreams, fantasies and nightmares as responses to modernity, and engages with the expression of anxieties about gender, sexuality, social power, technology and change which emerge from these texts.

As a Level 3 unit, this unit aims to equip students with specialist knowledge of this period of literary history. Students build on their previous studies in the discipline, encountering critical concepts and discourses important to the period, which saw the birth of English as a university discipline. They are encouraged to relate the literary and cultural concerns of this era to those of earlier and later periods they have previously studied. Both written assignments are enquiry-based, requiring independent research, a self-defined topic and the conscious application of formal and historicist reading practices.
Students are able to (1) acquire an informed understanding of the cultural history of Victorian England, one of the diverse societies in which English has played a major historical role; (2) have an historicised understanding of fundamental critical concepts, such as gothic, realism, and Neo-Victorianism, that allow them to recognise and discuss the relationship between the formal, thematic and functional aspects of specific textual practices; (3) be aware of the importance of informing and challenging their independent analyses and ideas with discriminating reading of the imaginative, critical and theoretical literature which the unit recommends; (4) develop a critical understanding of the role played by ideologies such as race, self-help, industrialism, class and gender in literary, visual and cultural texts; (5) express original arguments, together with research methodologies, approaches and findings, coherently and logically in oral and written formats; (6) apply, knowingly and appropriately, highly developed skills of textual analysis, critical reasoning, interpretation and research; and (7) apply developed skills in independent enquiry-based research, leading towards an informed understanding of, and ethical sensitivity towards, our diverse and globalised world in the context of advanced further studies and/or future career paths.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) a written response; and (3) a research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ned Curthoys
Unit rules
any Level 2 ENGL unit or EURO2209 Utopias, Imagination and Modernity in European Culture
ENGL2223 Victorian Ideologies
Contact hours
3 hours per week
All lectures for this unit will be pre-recorded and available online via LMS
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.