I was awarded a Graduate English Teaching Bursary at St Anne’s to support my teaching and training in 2012-2013 and I have since taught courses in Victorian (1832-1910) and Modern (1910 to present day) courses in Oxford for English Schools students, as well as specialist courses on Virginia Woolf, Children's Literature, Creative Writing for students in the junior year abroad programme.
19th CENTURY VERSE: Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, and Lord Alfred Tennyson.
19th CENTURY PROSE : Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Lewis Carroll, G. K. Chesterton, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, H. Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Amy Levy, George Bernard Shaw, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, H. G. Wells, Edith Wharton, and Oscar Wilde.
19th CENTURY THEORY AND CRITICISM: Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, Walter Pater, William James, Ferdinand de Saussure, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, and Georg Simmel.
The City Rises. Umberto Boccioni. Oil on canvas. 1910. The Museum of Modern Art.
20th & 21st CENTURY VERSE : Poets of WWI and WWII, Anne Carson, Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Seamus Heaney, T. E. Hulme, Ted Hughes, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and W. B. Yeats.
20th & 21st CENTURY PROSE : Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, J. G. Ballard, Elizabeth Bowen, Vera Brittain, Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner, E. M. Forster, Henry Green, Graham Greene, William Golding, Winifred Holtby, Aldous Huxley, Kazuo Ishiguro, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro, W. Somerset Maugham, Haruki Murakami, George Orwell, Jean Rhys, Salman Rushdie, Iain Sinclair, Tom Stoppard, Evelyn Waugh, Tennessee Williams, Leonard Woolf, and Virginia Woolf.
20th & 21st CENTURY THEORY AND CRITICISM: Arthur Symons, T. E. Hulme, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, György Lukács, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Frederic Jameson, Terry Eagleton, and Julia Kristeva.
British Literature, 1832-1910 (for Visiting Students)
OBJECTIVES: In this module, students have the opportunity to respond to the literature of this period in different forms and contexts. As such, the course works is structured as follows: three classes in which the tutor will give a presentation to stimulate ideas in discussion; four tutorials, for which students will write essays and in which students will discuss their interpretations and responses to the texts they have been reading with their tutor in pairs or groups of three; and one seminar in which students will present on a proposed topic, teaching their fellow students about a specialist topic.
- Matthew Arnold
- Lord Alfred Tennyson
- Mary Elizabeth Braddon
- the Brontës sisters
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Robert Browning
- G. K. Chesterton
- Joseph Conrad
- Lewis Carroll
- Charles Dickens
- George Eliot
- George Gissing
- H. Rider Haggard
- Thomas Hardy
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Henry James
- Rudyard Kipling
- Edward Lear
- Amy Levy
- Christina Rossetti
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Bram Stoker
- H. G. Wells
- Oscar Wilde
- W. B. Yeats
'Victorian' Literature, Contexts and Critics: Students will begin this course by addressing the various contexts in which one can consider the literature of this period and the different critical approaches one might choose to take. This class will focus on extracts from four key works of social and cultural criticism by some of the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth century: Thomas Carlyle, “Sign of the Times” (1829) and Sartor Resartus (1838); John Ruskin, Modern Painters (1843 – 1860); Karl Marx, Captial (1867); and Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869). Students are encouraged to read the extracts carefully and inquiringly, to print them out and annotate them in order to come to the class prepared to discuss them.
Class, Gender, Race, and Empire (with Dominic Davies): The aim of this class is to explore the sudden imperial expansion that took place in the 1870s and 1880s—decades that made the British Empire the most powerful in the world for some half-a- century—and the way this expansion was represented and interrogated in literature of the period. With its plot rooted firmly in the colonial hinterland of South Africa, and yet published in the imperial metropolis of London, Olive Schreiner’s astonishing first and only completed novel, The Story of an African Farm (1883), engages with the rise in popularity and currency of imperialist discourse. But the novel is also a deep meditation on several other concerns that dominated much nineteenth-century culture and thought. In this clas, students will explore the way in which the novel’s geographical and political location, ‘outside’ of Victorian Britain, as such, brings fresh perspectives to some of these other themes, and also how it might reveal the way in which imperialism itself was rooted in, and in turn raised and intensified, some of these wider concerns.
Science and Religion (with Franziska Kohlt): The nineteenth century is often seen as a turning point from a religious to a scientific society, and the evolution debate is one of the most prominent and widely discussed events in the history of the Victorian Age. However, its seemingly black-and-white nature is deceptive, as is the term of the science-religion debate or conflict itself; as Thomas Dixon, in his Very Short Introduction to Science and Religion, states “the story is not always one of a heroic and open-minded scientist clashing with a reactionary and bigoted church. The bigotry, like the open-mindedness is shared around on all sides.” As all conflicts of the nineteenth century, this one is multi-layered and complex and is entangled deeply in all areas of the changing Victorian society. This class aims to rethink and to dive deeper into the complexities of this debate and its dialogical nature, and it will look at reflections of this debate, in which many writers played an active part, in Victorian literature.
The Lives of Victorian Things: The seminar morning will focus on reading and interpreting the Victorian period through material culture, taking particular works of art as lenses through which students can look again at the period they are coming to know primarily through its literature.
Students are to prepare a 10 minute presentation to give before the class using one of the following paintings as a starting point for an investigation into some element of material culture: J. M. Turner's Rain, Steam, Speed (1844); John Everett Millais's Ophelia (1851-1852); Henry Courtney Selous's The Opening of the Great Exhibition by Queen Victoria on 1 May 1851 (1851-1852); Ford Madox Brown's Work (1852-1865); William Holman Hunt's The Afterglow in Egypt (1861-1862); Julia Margaret Cameron's Elaine the Lily – Maid of Astolat (1874).
Students will direct their own investigation, beginning by researching the image and learning about the artist, the subject, its style or the movement to which it belongs. The presentation should consult a sufficient number of primary sources from the course as well as secondary criticism. Students will offer their own analysis of all of the sources they include in their presentations, whether visual, literary, or critical. They must also prepare a series of thoughts or prompting questions to animate at least 15 minutes of discussion.
Victorian Oxford: Oxford is a city rich in history. During this course, it is recommended that students familiarise themselves with Oxford’s Victorian (yes, ‘Victorian’) past. Students will be asked to incorporate aspects of this past in their presentations at the seminar. Students may wish to visit the following: the Ashmolean (explore its wonderful collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings); the Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museums; the college chapels at Keble and Exeter; the Museum of the History of Science; the Oratory (the Roman Catholic church on Woodstock Road); Binsey Poplars.
Virginia Woolf (for Visiting Students)
"Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision."
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)
OBJECTIVES: In this module, students will have the opportunity to explore with breadth and depth the works of Virginia Woolf thematically and generically over the course of four tutorials. Each tutorial is arranged in order to consider the set texts in terms of four significant themes in Woolf's work: life writing, criticism, modernity, and modernism.
Woolf and Life Writing: In this tutorial, students will be asked to read through Woolf's own diaries (Passionate Apprentice: the Early Journals, 1897-1909 and A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf) as well as her autobiographical writing (Moments of Being) and two critical essays on biography (“The New Biography” and “The Art of Biography” in Selected Essays). Some ideas to consider include: the (various) purpose(s) of diaries; the nature of autobiographical writing versus biographical writing; the relevance or relative importance of juvenilia; ‘life writing’ as a critical term and how Woolf defines ‘life writing’ in her own work; the reception of life writing; and how Woolf represents herself in her own biographies.
Virginia Woolf. Vanessa Bell. Oil on board. 1912. The National Portrait Gallery, London.
The Critical Woolf: In this tutorial, students will be asked to read selected essays and short stories by Woolf: "The Common Reader", "Jane Austen", "Modern Fiction", and "George Eliot" from The Common Reader; "Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown", "Street Haunting: A London Adventure", and "Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid" from Selected Essays; "The Mark on the Wall", "Monday or Tuesday", "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street", and "The New Dress" from A Haunted House: the Complete Shorter Fiction; "Chapter 1" from A Room of One's Own; and "One" from Three Guineas. Some ideas to consider include: the shape literary criticism takes in the early 20th century; what is at stake in early 20th century literary criticism; what the form of the essay (and the short story) have to offer a writer; what terms Woolf employs when discussing her contemporaries; to what extent Woolf’s feminism dominates her non-fiction or short fiction; and, for Woolf, what the purpose/place of literary tradition might be.
Modernist Woolf: In this tutorial, students will be asked to read three early novels by Woolf: Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse. Some ideas to consider include: Woolf’s use of and innovation in narrative techniques; her use of imagery and language; the ways in which Woolf engage with modernism/modernity; how to define modernism with respect to Woolf and/or how to define Woolf with respect to modernism; how Woolf approaches or portrays the concepts or experiences of memory, loss, mourning, time.
Experimental Woolf: In this tutorial, students will be asked to read three of Woolf's later novels––Orlando, The Waves, and Between the Acts––as well as excerpts from four influential modernist theorists: Henri Bergson's An Introduction to Metaphysics, T. E. Hulme's "The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds" from Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, William James's "The Stream of Consciousness" from Psychology: The Briefer Course, and Walter Pater's "Conclusion" from Studies in the History of the Renaissance. Some ideas to consider include: the development of and innovation in narrative techniques in Woolf's writing; Woolf's use of imagery and language; the deployment (or subversion) of genre or style; disruption or interruption; descriptions of silence, sound, colour, texture; Woolf’s relationship with nature/the natural; the stream of consciousness or free indirect discourse; élan vital vs mechanisation in characters and narrative; durée and personal time vs historical time.