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This unit considers the 19th-century fascination with narratives of scandal, transgression, criminality, and irrationality, referred to as narratives of “sensation”. The unit may cover genres like the gothic, colonial adventure fiction, detective fiction, and the “sensation novel”, and the appearance of these genres in “respectable” realist fiction of the period, as well as extracts from texts like penny dreadfuls and advertisements, and biological, criminological, imperial, moral, or feminist texts. Providing an introduction to the literary and cultural history of the century, and introducing key writers, the unit asks why readers were fascinated by sensation narratives, and what these narratives tell us about the dreams and anxieties of 19th-century society.

Summary 2021

Unit name Nineteenth-Century Sensation and Spectacle
Unit code HEN203
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline English

Dr. Robbie Moore

Teaching staff

Dr. Robbie Moore

Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse selected nineteenth-century texts demonstrating knowledge of: a) their style and form and cultural and historical contexts b) key theories and practices of literary studies.
  2. Construct an argument supported by: a) evidence from your chosen texts b) reference to secondary sources.
  3. Communicate through: a) written essays b) presentations c) class discussions.




25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty

Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



Teaching Pattern

Five contact hours fortnightly (13 weeks)


Task 1: Research Project (50%)

Task 2: Tutorial presentation and participation (20%)

Task 3: Magazine archive essay (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable




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