Victorian Crime Writing

Subject 106-216 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first year English.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Grace Moore
Subject Overview:

The nineteenth century saw the development of a new type of fiction, which demonised the villain and elevated the detective to heroic status. This subject will introduce students to the study of crime fiction as a literary genre and will also consider the impact of contemporary journalism upon the form. We shall examine the development of the crime novel in the nineteenth century - largely in response to the establishment of a police force in 1829 - and the subsequent rise of detection as a science. The class will focus primarily on British crime novels, short stories and journalism of the Victorian age, but we shall begin by looking at early influential representations of the master criminal and detective by the likes of Balzac and Poe and we shall, of course, tackle Dostoevsky's 1866 masterpiece Crime and Punishment. The subject will address the social, political and economic changes generating a new middle-class (and later in the century a working-class) readership and we will consider how these new audiences influenced constructions of crime and criminality. Crimes under consideration will range from the economic, to murder, to sexual transgression. We will examine the serialisation and circulation of crime fiction, changes to the legal system, sensation fiction, scientific discourses surrounding the criminal mind, and technological advancements that aided detection both in fiction and in fact. Consideration will also be given to why the genre has, until recently, been neglected by literary scholarship.

Assessment: Written work totalling 4000 words comprising one 1500-word essay (40%) and one 2500-word essay (50%) (due mid-semester and due at the end of semester respectively). A hurdle requirement of a minimum 80% attendance and a class presentation and participation (10%) in class discussions is required.Note:Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader of primary material, critical essays and selected stories will be available from the University Bookshop.Old Goriot (1834) (Honor de Balzac, M Crawford (trans)), Penguin 1964 Lady Audley's Secret (Mary Elizabeth Braddon), Penguin, 1998 Oliver Twist (1837-8) (C Dickens, P Horne (ed)), Penguin 2003 The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes (A C Doyle), Penguin 1981 Crime and Punishment (1866) (F Dostoevsky, D McDuff (trans)), Penguin 2003 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) (R L Stevenson, M Donahay (ed)), Broadview 1999
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • acquire skills in research, including the competent use of library, and other (including online) information sources, and the ability to define areas of inquiry and methods of research;

  • acquire skills in critical thinking and analysis, including the ability to question accepted wisdom, shape and strengthen persuasive judgments and arguments, and develop critical self-awareness;

  • acquire skills in theoretical thinking through a productive engagement with relevant methodologies and paradigms in literary studies and the broader humanities;

  • acquire skills in creative thinking through essay writing and tutorial discussion, through the innovative conceptualising of problems and an appreciation of the role of creativity in critical analysis;

  • develop social, ethical and cultural understanding;

  • develop intelligent and effective communication of knowledge and ideas:

  • develop skills in time management and planning related to the successful organisation of workloads, disciplined self-direction and the ability to meet deadlines.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (English)
Graduate Certificate in Arts(English Literary Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (English Literature)

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