Undergraduate Course: 'We are [not] Amused': Victorian Comic Literature (ENLI10249)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Although comedy has played a major part in culture since at least the classical period, it is relatively little studied at university level. Other than its appearance in courses focused on the age of Shakespeare, comedy typically remains on the margin of the formal study of literature. This course therefore offers an excellent opportunity to rectify this omission by examining British comic culture during a key literary period.
As the title of the course suggests, we are perhaps conditioned to think of our Victorian forebears as humourless individuals, but the texts we will study on this course challenge this preconception. The material examined will underline the remarkable variety of Victorian comedy: examples will include the prose fiction of Dickens and Thackeray, the nonsense verse of Carroll and Lear, the often outrageous songs of the Victorian music hall, and the new forms of comedy which appeared at the end of the century and were epitomised in the drama of Oscar Wilde.
While this course is based around primary Victorian comic texts, it is designed to allow students to understand and apply key concepts in the wider study of comedy: these include forms such as irony, satire, farce, comedy of manners, parody, and black comedy; and theoretical concepts in comedy, such as superiority, incongruity, and relief theories. We will also have the opportunity to study the work of key comedy theorists such as Freud, Bakhtin, and Bergson.
This course is designed to inform and complement the study of comedy across other literary periods. The student completing this course will also gain experience of a wide variety of textual forms (novels, short stories, plays, poetry, song lyrics) and will understand how to incorporate these diverse forms into critical debates. In addition, the chronological nature of this course will allow students to trace the ways in which a major literary genre is subject to change over a major literary era.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites|| A MINIMUM of 4 college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as civilisation or other interdisciplinary classes, Freshman Year Seminars or composition/creative writing classes/workshops are not considered for admission to this course. Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course having 4 literature classes at grade A.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||One course essay of 2,500 words (40%)
One take-home exam-essay of 3,000 words (60%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Gain a detailed historical and theoretical understanding of a key literary genre. This understanding of the forms of comedy in the Victorian period will inform and complement the future study of this genre in other literary periods.
- The student completing this course will also gain experience of a wide variety of textual forms (novels, short stories, plays, poetry, song lyrics) and will understand how to incorporate these diverse forms into critical debates.
- In addition, the chronological nature of this course will allow the student to trace the ways in which a major literary genre is subject to change over a relatively short period of time.
|Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers |
W. M. Thackeray, ¿A Little Dinner at Timmins¿s¿ (short story available via Learn)
Dion Boucicault, London Assurance
Nonsense and Parody Texts: Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Thomas Hood, (available via Learn)
Comic Songs: including work by Gilbert and Sullivan and music hall songs (available via Learn)
George and Weedon Grossmith, The Diary of a Nobody
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Numbers are limited and students taking degrees not involving English or Scottish literature need the written approval of the head of English Literature.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 11 week(s). Plus 1 hour a week attendance at Autonomous Learning Group - times to be arranged
|Course organiser||Dr Jonathan Wild
Tel: (0131 6)51 3191
|Course secretary||Mr Michael Butler
Tel: (0131 6)51 1513