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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Literature, Revolution and Rebellion in the Long Nineteenth Century (ENLI10428)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to explore literary responses to the phenomenon of revolution and anti-colonial rebellion across the long nineteenth century. Students will be encouraged to reflect on ways in which texts of rebellion - or rebellious texts - inform a larger conversation about the relationship between literature and history, and to think about what happens when moments of intense political crisis migrate into fictional or poetic form.
Course description This course will explore literary engagements with the French Revolution together with responses to the Haitian Revolution, while Scott's inauguration of the historical novel will frame our discussion of later responses to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865. We will consider the multiple forms of discursive and ideological connection between literature and history, and we will think about what literary forms are capable of registering the shock of historical novelty: the historical novel looms large in that respect, but we will also explore the transformation of the bildungsroman, the differing poetics of various mid-Victorian writers, fin-de-siècle utopian imaginaries and early examples of the Empire 'writing back'. In the seminars, we'll also discuss various 'non-literary' para-texts, including writings by anti-colonial rebels such as Toussaint L'Ouverture, Firoz Shah and Paul Bogle, in order to explore the broader intertextual, international and political constellations that inform the literature of revolution and rebellion during the long nineteenth century.

Essential reading

William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1805), esp. books 9,13

Walter Scott, Waverley (1814)

Harriet Martineau, The Hour and the Man (1841)

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Christina Rossetti, Mary E. Leslie, James Minchin: poems on the Sepoy Rebellion (1850s)

J. A. Froude, The English in the West Indies (1888) & John Jacob Thomas, Froudacity (1889)

T. N. Mukharji, A Visit to Europe (1889) & Flora Annie Steel, On the Face of the Waters (1896)

William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025)) OR ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000 word coursework essay (30%) submitted mid-semester;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period (70%).
Feedback Throughout the semester, student-led autonomous learning groups will provide a means of formative assessment with feedback delivered by tutors and peers during the seminar conversations. Each student will be expected to act as ALG scribe at least once during the semester. Feedback on two summative assessments (the mid-term and final essay) will be provided within fifteen working days, and feedback on the mid-term essay will feed forward for the final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. consolidate knowledge of a key literary-historical period through study of 'canonical' works alongside more 'marginal' voices and texts;
  2. reflect on a range of theoretical, formal and thematic frameworks for thinking about and interpreting these texts;
  3. develop their own responses to literary texts, informed by close reading and knowledge of key critical perspectives;
  4. collaborate with peers to complete autonomous learning tasks and work individually on essay-writing and independent reading.
Reading List
week one: introduction

week two: the romantics' french revolution

William Blake, The French Revolution (1791)

William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1805), Books 9,13

To Toussaint Louverture (1802)

week three: romancing the jacobite rebellion

Walter Scott, Waverley (1814)

week four: the haitian revolution

Harriet Martineau, The Hour and the Man (1841)

Toussaint L'Ouverture, The Haitian Revolution, ed. Nick Nesbitt (2019), extracts

week five: an english jacobin'

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

WEEK SIX: responses to the sepoy rebellion

[Firoz Shah], 'Azamgarh Proclamation' (1857)

Christina Rossetti, 'In the Round Tower at Jhansi, June 8, 1857'

Mary E. Leslie, Sorrows, Aspirations and Legends from India (1858)

James Minchin, Ex Oriente: Sonnets on the Indian Rebellion (1858)

Alfred Tennyson, 'The Defence of Lucknow' (1879)


Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

WEEK eight ' essay writing week (move to week six?)

WEEK nine: morant bay and after

J. A. Froude, The English in the West Indies; or, The Bow of Ulysses (1888), extracts

John Jacob Thomas, Froudacity: West Indian Fables Explained (1889), extracts

Paul Bogle's Proclamation of October 1865

WEEK ten: the sepoy rebellion, again

T. N. Mukharji, A Visit to Europe (1889), extracts

Flora Annie Steel, On the Face of the Waters (1896)

WEEK eleven: imagining social revolution

William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890)

Suggested Further Reading

Abrams, M. H., Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (London: Oxford University Press, 1971)

Anderson, Clare, The Indian Uprising of 1857,8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion (London: Anthem Press, 2007)

Armstrong, Isobel, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2019)

Azim, Firdous, The Colonial Rise of the Novel (London: Routledge, 1993)

Bakan, Abigail, Ideology and Class Conflict in Jamaica: The Politics of Rebellion (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990)

Boos Florence S., and Carole Silver, eds, Socialism and the Literary Artistry of William Morris (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990)

Buck-Morss, Susan, Hegel, Haiti and Universal History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005)

Burton, Richard D. E., Afro-Creole: Power, Opposition, and Play in the Caribbean (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997)

Callanan, Laura, 'Race and the Politics of Interpretative Disruption in Harriet Martineau's The Hour and the Man (1841), Women's Writing 9.3 (2002), 413,32

Carter, Marina, and Crispin Bates, eds, Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, 2 vols (London: Sage, 2013,14)

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, new edn (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007)

Chakravarty, Gautum, The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Coleman, Stephen and Patrick O'Sullivan, eds, William Morris & News from Nowhere: A Vision for Our Time (Bideford: Green Books, 1990)

Daut, Marlene L., Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015)

Eagleton, Terry, Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontës, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan (1987)

Fick, Carolyn, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville: University of Tennesse Press, 1990)

Fleishman, Avrom, The English Historical Novel: Walter Scott to Virginia Woolf (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971)

Friedman, Barton R., Fabricating History: English Writers on the French Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988)

Gallagher, Catherine, 'The Duplicity of Doubling in A Tale of Two Cities', DSA 12 (1983), 125¿45

Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, new edn (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020)

Gill, Stephen, ed., William Wordsworth's 'The Prelude': A Casebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Gopal, Priyamvada, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent (London: Verso, 2019)

Graff, Ann-Barbara, 'Gender, History and the Art of Mutiny: Flora Annie Steel's On the Face of the Waters', in Clio's Daughters: British Women Making History, 1790-1899, ed. Lynette Felber (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), pp. 43'68

Hamnett, Brian, The Historical Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Representations of Reality in History and Fiction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Hauman, Gad, 'The Killing Time': The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994)

Holt, Thomas, The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)

Hunter, Shelagh, Harriet Martineau: The Poetics of Moralism (Aldershot: Scolar, 1995)

Jameson, Fredric, The Antinomies of Realism (London: Verso, 2013)

Jones, Colin, Josephine McDonagh and Jon Mee, eds, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities and the French Revolution (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009)

Joshi, Priya, In Another Country: Colonialism, Culture and the English Novel in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002)

Kaplan, Cora, 'Black Heroes/White Writers: Toussaint L¿Ouverture and the Literary Imagination', History Workshop Journal 46 (Autumn 1988), 32,62

Lamb, John, 'Revolution and Moral Management in A Tale of Two Cities', Dickens Studies Annual 25 (1996), 227,43

Logan, Deborah Anna, The Hour and the Woman: Harriet Martineau's 'Somewhat Remarkable Life'(DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2002)

Maxwell, Richard, The Historical Novel in Europe, 1650-1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Paulson, Ronald, Representations of Revolution (1789-1820) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983)

Reddy, Sheshalatha, British Empire and the Literature of Rebellion: Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects (London: Palgrave, 2017)

Rignall, J .M., 'Dickens and the Catastrophic Continuum of History in A Tale of Two Cities', ELH 51 (Fall 1984), 575,87

Roye, Susmita, ed., Flora Annie Steel: A Critical Study of an Unconventional Memsahib (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2017)

Sanders, Andrew, The Victorian Historical Novel 1840-1880 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979)

Sanders, Valerie, Reason Over Passion: Harriet Martineau and the Victorian Novel (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986)

Shaw, Harry E., The Forms of Historical Fiction: Sir Walter Scott and His Successors (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983)

Narrating Reality: Austen, Scott, Eliot (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999)

Shuttleworth, Sally, Charlotte Brontë and Victorian Pyschology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Singh, Harleen, The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History and Fable in India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, 'Sex and History in The Prelude (1805)' TSSL 23.3 (1981), 324,60

Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism', Writing and Difference 12.1 (Autumn 1985), 243,61

Thomas, Faith, Creole Recitations: John Jacob Thomas and Colonial Formation in the Late Nineteenth-Century Caribbean (University of Virginia Press, 2002)

Winter, Sarah, 'On the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica and the Governor Eyre-George William Gordon Controversy, 1865,70', BRANCH Collective, available online:

«» [last accessed 3 June 2022]
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsVictorian literature (fiction,poetry),Empire,nation,gender,class,revolution,rebellion
Course organiserDr Owen Holland
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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