Representations of Precarity and Poverty in 19th-Century Britain



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Mo 16:00-17:30, Raum KH 1.014

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Das Proseminar gehört zu folgenden Modulen:
- BA English and American Studies: Zwischenmodul II (Culture)
- BA English and American Studies: Zwischenmodul II (Literature)
Voraussetzungen für den Besuch:
- Erfolgreicher Abschluss der GOP
- In der Regel: Erfolgreicher Abschluss des Zwischenmoduls I (Thematisches Kombinationsmodul)


In his 1845 novel |Sybil|, Benjamin Disraeli went so far as to claim that England consisted of "[t]wo nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones or inhabitants of different planets […] THE RICH AND THE POOR". Today, the nineteenth century in Britain continues to be known for the many forms of social inequality that arose in the wake of the industrial revolution. In this seminar, we will take a closer look at diverse phenomena pertaining to social inequality during this period, e.g. the New Poor Laws, workhouses, child labour, working conditions in factories, Chartism, prostitution, the slums of London and Manchester and the emergence of working-class cultures. Our focus will lie on the ambivalent ways in which novelists, poets, journalists and visual artists represented these forms of precarity and poverty in fictional and non-fictional texts. Among the works we will discuss in class are excerpts from Charles Dickens's |Oliver Twist| (1837-39), Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem "The Cry of Children" (1843), Elizabeth Gaskell's |North and South| (1855) and sections of Henry Mayhew's |London Labour and the London Poor| (1861).

Empfohlene Literatur

Please purchase and read the Penguin Classics edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's |North and South| before the beginning of the term: - Gaskell, Elizabeth. |North and South|, edited with an introduction by Patricia Ingham, Penguin Classics, ISBN: 978-0140434248