Reverberations of Terror: 1789-1900

Subject ENGL20025 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

106-230 Reverberations of Terror: 1789-1900

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:



Subject Overview:

This subject introduces 19th century political writing, tracing the cultures of radicalism, reaction and liberal reform that emerged after the French Revolution. It focuses on the age of mass resistance, and the often-fearful reactions dissent inspired in social and political elites. Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities exemplifies the terror reverberating throughout the century, with its graphic crowd scenes and depictions of the underclass in revolt. We will examine literary responses to political issues including the 1790s pamphlet wars, Abolitionism, the Napoleonic Wars, the heroic age of popular radicalism, the Peterloo Massacre, Chartism, the Indian Mutiny‚ and the emergence of the women's movement. Students will address concerns including the rise of realism and its overtly political agenda. They will consider fiction, poetry and political prose to discover how these different media informed each other. Students will encounter polemical writing alongside well-known canonical texts to gain an overview of the political climate of the long 19th century. On completion of this subject students will have gained an understanding of how this time of great change and uncertainty was captured in poetry and prose.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • gained an overview of the writing of the ‘long’ 19th century from 1789 to the 1890s;
  • considered the literature of revolution and reform;
  • examined the social, political and economic context of a range of canonical texts;
  • been introduced to less well-known 19th century writers, including ‘Corn Law Rhymers’ and Chartist poets;
  • the ability to discuss and write about 19th century texts in a sophisticated manner;
  • acquired a transportable set of interpretive skills;
  • developed the capacity for independent research;
  • developed the capacity for critical thinking and analysis;
  • developed the ability to communicate in writing.

A 1500 word essay, 40% (due mid-semester), and a 2500 word essay, 60% (due in the examination period).This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials as well as a class presentation. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A Subject Reader containing primary material and critical essays, including pamphlets by Edmund Burke, Tom Paine and mary Wollstonecraft, poetry by Byron, P B Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy, England in 1819, Chartist poetry by Ebenezer Elliott and Ernest Jones and prose by Thomas Carlyle.

  • Letters Written from France, Williams
  • Obi, or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack, Earle
  • Mansfield Park, Austen
  • The Red and the Black, Stendhal
  • North and South, Gaskell
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens
  • Blind Love, Collins
  • The Secret Agent, Conrad
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will acquire the following skills:

  • research: through competent use of library, and other (including online) information sources; through the successful definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;

  • critical thinking and analysis: through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the questioning of accepted wisdom and the ability to shape and strengthen persuasive judgments and arguments; through attention to detail in reading material; and through openness to new ideas and the development of critical self-awareness;

  • theoretical thinking: through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through a productive engagement with relevant methodologies and paradigms in literary studies and the broader humanities;

  • 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;

  • social, ethical and cultural understanding: through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the social contextualization of arguments and judgments; through adaptations of knowledge to new situations and openness to new ideas; through the development of critical self-awareness in relation to an understanding of other cultures and practices.

  • intelligent and effective communication of knowledge and ideas: through essay preparation, planning and writing as well as tutorial discussion. through effective dissemination of ideas from recommended reading and other relevant information sources. through clear definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research. through confidence to express ideas in public forums;

  • time management and planning: through the successful organization of workloads; through disciplined self-direction and the ability to meet deadlines.


Students who have completed 673-345 Reverberations of Terror: 1789-1900 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
European Studies

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