CLiC Calendar

May 2021

What do you enjoy most about teaching 19th century fiction?
CLiC Calendar image supporting the question

Share Your Answer

/ 1000

All Answers

12 Jul 2021, 7:50 a.m.
For me it is to do with realism and the emotion around ordinary lives. But one wonderful technique that is more-than-technique I have never fully understood is Free Indirect Discourse, when we get into the minds of the characters somewhere in between I and he/she/they. Peter Stockwell rightly mentions it. I feel it opens up the inner secrets of the world. Can anyone recommend to me anything that would give me further understanding of it?
Philip Davis
26 May 2021, 9:19 a.m.
In the Department of Drama and Theatre studies we have been working towards decolonising our curricula. In response, I introduced materials to the Victorian Drama 3rd Year syllabus which gave students more opportunity to engage with race studies. An obvious starting point was Harriet Beecher Stowe' s 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' alongside the numerous dramatic adaptations that appeared on the stage in 1852/1853. These were read in conjunction with the dramas 'The Octoroon' by Dion Boucicault, 'Black and White' by Wilkie Collins and 'The Black Doctor' by the Shakespearean black actor, Ira Aldridge. Revising my syllabus has had a huge influence on my own research - examining Collins's play led me to uncover the history of slavery, apprenticeship and the appalling system of indentured servitude by Indian immigrants transported by the British to Trinidad.It has been rewarding to see students engaging so fully with the module, producing thoughtful, well-researched critical essays and presentations.
21 May 2021, 4:24 p.m.
I love using examples from 19th century fiction such as Hardy, Dickens, Bronte, to teach a range of stylistic features (speech and thought presentation, narration and point of view, characterisation through mind style, and use of dialects for authenticity etc). I also teach “narrative” and these novels present students with complex plot dimensions that make these works brilliant stories to read and study!
Dr Marina Lambrou, Kingston University, Chair of the Poetics and Linguistics Society (PALA)
20 May 2021, 9:23 a.m.
I love that students can recognise tropes that we now consider established, or even cliched, that were in their infancy during this period. The often melodramatic characterisations are fun to read, and more fun to dissect, compare, and contrast; and using these stories as lenses through which to explore the concerns of people during a tumultuous period in both British and global history.
20 May 2021, 9:22 a.m.
The uncanniness of it all! Such rapid development in all areas of life - it was a truly frightening time to live in and so much contemporary writing reflects that sense of social unease, and nostalgia in the face of rapid change.
19 May 2021, 2:05 p.m.
As a Victorianist, I see the Nineteenth Century as the golden age of the Novel in English. It is a pleasure to see the great students I am lucky enough to teach at Durham engaging with texts as rich, as complex - and as large! - as David Copperfield and Middlemarch, as well as with the other forms that fiction can take in the 19c. - the short story, the novella, the romance. Capacious a genre as fiction in this period is, a part of the pleasure is introducing students to, or expanding their knowledge of, the Marriage Question, evolutionary theory and literature and science, Empire and colonialism, social mobility, the Gothic, psychoanalysis..... I feel very lucky that as part of my job I get to teach these incredible texts.
Professor Simon J. James, Department of English Studies, Durham University
17 May 2021, 4:42 p.m.
Almost everything we think of as contemporary, current or modern techniques of writing can be found in their first expression in 19th century prose fiction: free indirect discourse, unreliable narrators, dark manifestations of consciousness and the unconscious, deviant, taboo and obsessive behaviour. As someone interested in literary styles, I am constantly surprised by the experimentalism of 19th century writers.
Prof Peter Stockwell, Professor of Literary Linguistics, University of Nottingham, UK
14 May 2021, 6:11 p.m.
Discovering and discussing examples of a cultural practice that has changed, whether related to dialogue and polite expressions, or descriptions of body language, clothing, everyday objects...
14 May 2021, 5:29 p.m.
Going back in time through words on the page. The language and sentence structures and helping student to decode and infer. The exploration of characters and how they are constructed. Working out now oblique references. Enjoy a damn fine story!
29 Apr 2021, 6:09 p.m.
I love teaching the openings to 19th century fictional texts. Such wonderfully rich description, characters and settings – and always so memorable! Whether it’s the opening to Keats’ 'The Eve of St Agnes' and its description of the cold atmosphere of the castle, or Dickens’ 'Great Expectations' which introduces us to Magwitch and the young Pip through the narration of the older Pip, there’s so much to explore. And examining the language, in particular, of these texts can really give insights into why they might be viewed as so vivid and memorable by successive generations of readers.
Dr Marcello Giovanelli, Aston University, UK