This course will take place online.
From William Blake’s apocalyptic Lambeth to Zadie Smith’s postcolonial north-west suburbs; from Dickens’s bustling panoramas to Patrick Hamilton’s hangover-ridden 1940s haunts, London has inspired many powerful visions of the planet’s most complex city. Teaching will be by lecture and seminar/group discussion.
Who is this course for?
Anyone with an interest in London history. No previous skills or knowledge required, but curiosity and an appetite for reading will be helpful. No advance reading is required as this is a general survey course, with reading lists and recommendations supplied for future exploration in the student’s free time.
What can I expect?
This will be a lecture seminar, with the tutor lecturing with PowerPoint slides, but students are encouraged to join in with questions and opinions. There is no formal homework as such, but students will be supplied in advance with the critical material that will be examined in class. They will also be given a detailed secondary reading list so that they can do deeper exploration on any topic that has sparked interest after the course has finished.
Joining via Zoom
This course or event will be held via Zoom. You need a computer/laptop or mobile phone to access the Zoom website, and a reliable internet connection. For further information on how to join a Zoom meeting, you can watch the joining video here.
You will need a computer or other device to connect with Zoom and a notebook/paper and pen/pencil, or digital equivalent.
We provide a number of funded bursaries to people who find it hard to pay the full or concessionary rates. Find out more information on how to apply.
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You will learn
By the end of this course, you will have learnt to:
- Identify the major fictional portraits of London from 200 years of history
- Define key moments in London’s social history
- Identify some of the literary trends / shifts in style across 200 years of fiction writing
- Pursue further reading on these subjects, with a detailed bibliography/secondary reading list for each session.
Meet the Tutor
Sarah Wise teaches 19th-century social history and literature to undergraduates and adult learners, and is visiting professor at the University of California’s London Study Center. Sarah’s debut, The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave Robbery in 1830s London, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. It was the inspiration for Sky’s The Frankenstein Chronicles.
Her follow-up, The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum, was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize, and was the basis for the BBC’s series The Victorian Slum.
Her most recent book, Inconvenient People, was shortlisted for the 2014 Wellcome Prize. Her TV work includes providing background material for BBC1’s Secret History of Our Streets, and BBC2’s The Victorian Slum, and she has twice been the history expert on Who Do You Think You Are?
The late-18th century to the mid-1830s
- Romantic London – Wordsworth, Blake, Thomas De Quincey.
- Regency London – bucks, bruisers, dandies, men-about-town.
- The Newgate Novel – amoral tales of villains.
- The "silver fork novel" of High Society.
The mid-19th century
- Dickens, crime, policing and detection.
- The slums of St Giles
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Dostoevsky in Haymarket
- London’s first time-travel fantasy.
The late 19th century
- Slum fiction
- Disaster/dystopian fiction
- Science fiction.
The Inter-War Years
- The Roaring Twenties, Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf.
- The Depression of the Thirties, Patrick Hamilton, Simon Blumenfeld, Pamela Hansford Johnson
War and postwar
- Science fiction
- Social upheaval
- Mass migration.
- Colin MacInnes, Nigel Kneal, Nell Dunn, Sam Selvon, Margaret Drabble, BS Johnson.
1980 to Today
- London during the Thatcher years
- Crime writing.
Need to Know
- 19:00 - 21:00
- £119/£89 conc.
- Sarah Wise
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code