All entries for November 2012

November 30, 2012

Week 10 Questions

The Farmer

Questions for the week 10 seminar on Tess of the D'Urbervilles:

  • Merryn Williams asserts that "Tess Durbeyfield, over and above her qualities as a person, is portrayed as a representative of her class and her sex". Consider the extent to which you agree with this statement, and the intersection of class and gender in the portrayal of Tess.
  • What different models of masculinity does the novel present?
  • The rural landscape is central to the novel; think about how locality is represented, and the implications of moving beyond this locale.

November 23, 2012

Week 9 Questions

A clip from the 2004 BBC adaptation of North and South, which provides a useful visualisation of inside the factory.

Questions to prepare for week 9 seminars on Gaskell's North and South:

  • Think about the spatial politics of England in the novel: what meanings are attached to "North" and "South"? What is the significance and effect of this as a framework for the novel's central issues?
  • Class relations: how are cross-class relations depicted, and why are these important to the narration of Industrial dispute? How are both sides of the dispute depicted, and where does the novel's sympathy lie?
  • What gender issues does the text raise? How do gender and class intersect?
  • What connections does the novel make between regional and international affairs?

November 21, 2012

1st assessed essay

The first assessed essay questions can be downloaded here: en245_1st_assessed_essay_2012_1.doc

These will also be made available on the module website in the next day or so.

November 17, 2012

Victorian Manchester

This blog post "Palaces of commerce: Manchester's Victorian Warehouses" provides a nice complement to this week's reading, giving a sense of the grander city spaces behind which Engels is investigating.

November 16, 2012

Week 8 Questions


An engraving of Manchester, 1850

For the week 8 seminar on Carlyle and Engels, think about:

  • What features does Carlyle present as characteristic of modernity? How does he characterise the social and spiritual effects of industrialisation, and what values does he suggest have been lost?
  • Carlyle was one of the most influential thinkers of his era: how would you account for the strength of his appeal? What anxieties does he engage with, and does he offer a convincing solution to the problems he identifies?
  • What affinities can you identify between Engels's and Carlyle's attitudes to, and analyses of, the conditions of the working classes? How are the working classes represented in comparison to other texts studied?
  • What is Engels's attitude to women workers and the redefinition of gender roles that industrialism has created?

November 07, 2012

Week 7 Questions


In preparation for the week 7 seminar on Charlotte Bronte's Shirley please prepare the following:

  • What perspectives does the text offer us on the "woman question": what questions and debates about women's role and status does the text raise?
  • What questions does the text raise around women's education and/or work? How do these interact with the ideas of Ruskin and Nightingale discussed in week 5?
  • Does the text challenge or conform to traditional ideas of gender identity?
  • In week 8 we'll be looking at the "condition of England" and issues around class and labour. What concerns does the novel raise around workers' conditions, rights, and the position of landowners, and where does it stand on these issues?

November 2012

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