Victorian Popular Fiction ENGLIT4113

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines Victorian popular fiction in historical context and explores questions of canon, genre and readership through the study of a wide variety of texts. The course will study nineteenth-century responses to the works and their subsequent reception in various media, together with theories of popular culture, adaptation and book history.


1 x 90min seminar per week over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

2 x 90min film screenings.

1 x 2hr library session.


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours English Literature, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT4028 Victorian Popular Fiction 


Essay - 1500 words (35%)

Oral Presentation - 7 minutes (15%)

Final report (in the form of a reception history or mini-edition) - 2500 words (50%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ study the major works and genres of Victorian popular fiction

■ develop advanced level research and critical writing skills

■ analyse the reception of Victorian popular fiction in the light of contemporary theories of popular culture, adaptation, and book history

■ show students how to access material and digital archives relevant to the study of Victorian popular fiction

■ engage with major critical debates in the contemporary field of Victorian popular culture studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ engage critically with major works and genres of Victorian popular fiction

■ write knowledgeably about the emergence and development of popular fiction genres across the nineteenth century

■ evaluate contemporary critical approaches to Victorian popular culture studies

■ analyse Victorian print culture resources (digital and material)

■ write knowledgeably about the reception of Victorian popular fiction in twentieth- and twenty-first century media  

■ develop research arguments about the production and reception of Victorian popular fiction in the nineteenth century

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.