Teaching Loose Baggy Monsters: Victorian Fiction in the 21st-Century University Classroom

Angela DunstanMCRh

In the Twitter era, when hyper-economical forms are privileged, how we can we encourage our students to read the lengthy, sometimes prolix 'loose baggy monsters' of Victorian fiction? Given the prominent, self-reflexive interest of much Victorian fiction in the historical past, and the inclusion of images in many Victorian texts through the ubiquity of illustration practices, what particular opportunities and challenges does teaching Victorian fiction present in our own avowedly interdisciplinary age? How do we balance close reading practice alongside other disciplinary methods? While the preference of much British Victorian scholarship is for the recovery of and advocacy for marginal, forgotten texts, how do we really implement research-led teaching when the classroom requires us to return, again and again, to popular canonical works? Despite the fact that Victorian fiction is often noticeably complicit with 19th-century discourses of colonialism, how do we meaningfully engage with student expectations that we decolonise the curriculum? This panel will offer a forum for thinking through some key challenges of teaching Victorian fiction in the 21st-century tertiary classroom, drawing on our own experiences and experiments team teaching together a year-long second-year 'Victorian Fictions' module at QMUL.

Dr Rob Drummond – Reader in Linguistics, Manchester Met.
Dr Erin Carrie – Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, Manchester Met.
Dr Sadie Ryan – Research Associate, Manchester Met.
TBC – Research Associate, Manchester Met (to be recruited Spring 2020)

Fri 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm