Singapore University of Social Sciences

Analysing the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Analysing the Nineteenth-Century Novel (ELT209)

Applications Open: 01 April 2022

Applications Close: 31 May 2022

Next Available Intake: July 2022

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: $1378 View More Details on Fees

Area of Interest: Linguistics and Languages

Schemes: Alumni Continuing Education (ACE)

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Humanities & Behavioural Sciences


ELT209e Analysing the Nineteenth-Century Novel studies how and why the novel became the dominant literary form in Britain in the nineteenth century. Students will learn how to compare three representative nineteenth-century novels: Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Study Unit One explains how and why two principal kinds of novel—the Gothic novel and the realist novel—emerged, and it applies the concept of realism to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. This Unit teaches students the essential analytical method of close reading that students will use throughout the course. Students will learn about major issues in Mansfield Park such as the “great house,” the British Empire, Britain’s slave-trade, and its navy, all of which are linked to the founding and early history of Singapore. Study Unit Two suggests that the Victorian novel, Jane Eyre, might be a “passionate” rewriting of Mansfield Park, and it shows how the form of the nineteenth-century novel thrived by diversifying. The study of Jane Eyre highlights the problematic issues of Brontë’s privileging of her narrator-heroine, Jane, and the Victorian concept of “moral insanity.” The unit then compares the ways in which Brontë and Austen portray the Caribbean and the British Empire. Study Unit Three compares the nightmarish novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with Mansfield Park and Jane Eyre, explaining how Stevenson uses multiple narrators to dramatise the late Victorian identity crisis. Stevenson updates the Gothic novel by fusing the Gothic motif of the doppelganger (demonic “double”) with two new genres: science fiction and crime fiction.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester
E-Learning: - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus. To be confirmed


  • Study Unit 1: Chapter 1: Introduction to the Nineteenth-Century Novel
  • Study Unit 1: Chapter 2: Mansfield Park
  • Study Unit 1: Chapter 2: Mansfield Park
  • Study Unit 2: Chapter 3: Jane Eyre
  • Study Unit 2: Chapter 3: Jane Eyre
  • Study Unit 3: Chapter 4: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Study Unit 3: Chapter 4: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the characteristics of the novel, the Realist novel, and the Gothic, both as a formal and as a socio-historical concept.
  • Show through close reading the role of characterisation, narrative structure, and other literary strategies in the nineteenth-century novel.
  • Analyse the thematic concerns of Realist novels, inferring the significance of such important issues as social class, child neglect and abuse, patriarchy, and the British empire, and relating this to the contemporaneous founding and early history of Singapore.
  • Compare and contrast nineteenth-century novels through close reading of stylistic features, language, themes, and discussion of literary criticism.
  • Explain the relevance of the evidence from the texts.
  • Write properly structured papers on fiction and non-fiction, with correct citation of sources and presentation of bibliographies.
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