All 7 entries tagged Seminar Prep

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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 16, 2012

Week 8 Questions

manchester_1850.jpg

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

shirley.jpg

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?

October 26, 2012

Week 5 Questions

advert.png

A Victorian advert

For the seminar on Ruskin's "Of Queen's Gardens" and Nightingale's Cassandra think about the following;

  • Ruskin categorises gender difference along strict, binary, lines; what characteristics does he ascribe to men and women, and can you identify examples from the novels read so far that support or challenge these notions?
  • Ruskin's work was very influential on Victorian women; why do you think this might have been the case, and do you find this surprising?
  • Compare Nightingale's understanding of women's position, character and potential with Ruskin. What does Nightingale see as the main obstacles to the full development of that potential? From the reading that we've done thus far on the module what would you identify that supports this view?

October 19, 2012

Week 4 Questions

The trailer for the 2011 film of Wuthering Heights, directed by Andrea Arnold

For the seminar on Wuthering Heights, prepare notes on these themes:

Place and setting: how is the landscape depicted and what effect does this have? Think in particular about the relationship between the two houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and the borders, boundaries and thresholds that separate these spaces.

Heathcliff: who is Heathcliff? Various critical readings have tried to pin down Heathcliff's origins, and the 2011 film of Wuthering Heights invited much interest in having a black actor play Heathcliff. How do we read his origins, and why is it important?

Narration: what is the effect of the various narrative perspectives offered in the text? How do the narrative voices relate to one another? Whose story is this?


October 12, 2012

Week 3 Questions

Stoneleigh Abbey

Stoneleigh Abbey- inspiration for some of the Sotherton Court scenes in Mansfield Park

For the seminar on Mansfield Park, please prepare these questions:

The house: What does Mansfield Park stand for - ideals, values, traditions? What (and how) does the novel endorse and/or critique about the house? How do different characters relate to the houses/spaces they inhabit, and what does this tell us?

The head of the house: what is the relationship between the house and its head? How does the head of the house function, and what are we to make of the failures of Heads? How is masculinity portrayed more widely in the novel?

The House and Empire: Edward Said suggests that "having read Mansfield Park as part of the structure of an expanding imperialist venture, one cannot simply restore it to the canon of ‘great literary masterpieces’ – to which it most certainly belongs – and leave it at that. Rather, I think, the novel steadily, if unobtrusively, opens up a broad expanse of domestic imperialist culture without which Britain’s subsequent acquisition of territory would not have been possible.” (Culture and Imperialism, p. 114). How do you read the relationship between England/Mansfield Park and Antigua, and what problems does the novel raise with regards to Imperialism?


October 05, 2012

Week 2 Questions

maria-edgeworth-house.jpg

Maria Edgeworth's house

For the week 2 seminar prepare notes on the following issues:

The narrator: what is the impact of the first-person narration? Is Thady a reliable narrator? What is the relationship between Thady's narration and the surrounding editorial material - preface, footnotes, glossary?

The big house: in what ways is the house significant, and what values is it associated with? What does the novel criticise and endorse? How do class tensions intersect with issues of nationality?

The position of women: what part do women play in this narrative? How do gender, class and nation intersect?


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