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Modernising Victorians


Module description

Modernising Victorians, the second core module (taken in Year 1 by full-time and Year 2 by part-time students) focuses on the continuities and changes that characterise the second half of the nineteenth century. With 1859 (the year Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published) as our starting point we examine the philosophical, scientific, technological and cultural transformations that saw the period of ‘high Victorian’ optimism give way to the unsettling energies of the fin de siècle. We read Darwin, investigate the developing ‘Woman Question’, and assess the gathering tensions of empire; we ask how far ‘culture’ replaced religious faith, and examine ideas of modern living; and we look at socialist hopefulness and fears of decline and degeneration at the century’s end.