The Victorians: British History, 1837-1901
Value: half unit
Dr Alex Windscheffel
Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars
Best Essay of 2 (40%) and 2-hour Exam (60%)
Who were the Victorians? What did they believe in? What was the legacy of the Victorian years? And what do they continue to mean and signify to us today? This self-contained half-unit offers a general overview of the dramatic political, cultural and social contours of life in Britain during the Victorian period, often seen as the zenith of British progress and self-confidence. The course is framed between the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837 - aged just eighteen – and her death in 1901. Topics studied along the way include the role and image of the monarchy; the decline of the aristocracy; the lives of the urban and industrial working classes; the rise of social observation and the 'discovery' of poverty; Liberalism and Conservatism in the age of Gladstone and Disraeli; the Victorian women's movement; marital relations and Victorian sexuality; democracy, citizenship and the demand for the vote from various voices; religion, science and doubt; Victorian art and visual culture; and famine, loyalism and nationalism in Victorian Ireland. This is a course that is essential for anyone wishing to understand not just the Victorian era, but the nature of the world we live in today.