This course has concessions available

Literature, Art And Material Culture – The Historical Thread Part 3

The course will explore the literature, art, and material culture of Europe, with reference to five key texts from the 17th, 18th and 19th Century canon: The Diary of Samuel Pepys; Edward Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Thomas Macaulays History of England; Walter Scotts Waverley; and George Eliots Romola. It will focus on the influence that each of these texts had on those that followed; and on the complex and changing inter-relationships between literature, the visual and performing arts, and material culture in European culture and society.

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

No prior knowledge is necessary, but a good understanding of English is essential.

We will be discussing the following books, some or all of which you may wish to buy and read in your own time:

R. Latham (ed) & S. Pepys, The Diaries of Samuel Pepys: A Selection, Penguin Classics.
D. Womersley (ed) & E. Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1, Penguin Classics.
H. Trevor-Roper (ed) & T. Macaulay, The History of England, Penguin Classics.
W. Scott, Waverley, Penguin Classics.
D. Barrett (ed) & G. Eliot, Romola, Penguin Classics.

What does this course cover

We will begin by looking at the concept of 'historical' literature in global perspective; and at key issues of literary influence, and inter-relationships between different forms of cultural and creative expression. We will then examine each of the key texts on its own terms; in the context of the times and places in which they were produced; and in terms of their broader influence in the definition and transformation of of tradition in response to changing social, aesthetic, and religious ideas; and the way in which 17th, 18th, and 19th Century traditions continue to develop and influence the Modern World.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

' Explain the concept of 'historical' literature, with reference to key texts in the Medieval and Early Modern traditions.
' Identify a range of influences of one text on another; and of specific literary works on other forms of cultural expression (painting, sculpture, material culture, music, drama).
' Contribute to a discussion on the historical, philosophical, and aesthetic ideas that underpin key literary works.
' Define key ideas in literary criticism and art history.
' Use the knowledge gained on the course to identify aspects of 17th, 18th, and 19th Century thought that continue to influence the cultural life of the Modern World.

What will it be like

Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint; readings from the key texts and related works; and group discussion of issues arising from those texts. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress.

What else do you need to buy or do

All the materials for the course will be available via the Moodle page for the course. You are advised to bring along some note-taking materials to each session.

What this course could lead to

Further courses in History, Literature, Philosophy or Other Humanities and Social Sciences at the Centre

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’