Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3420 Fictions of Fallen Women, 1850-1922

20 creditsClass Size: 40


Module manager: Dr Katy Mullin

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Understand how attitudes to women and sexuality changed during the nineteenth and twentieth century;
- Perceive how novelists responded to and produced fictions of female proper and improper conduct;
- Analyse the complicated dialogue between fiction and other cultural sources.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
critical reasoning;
research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
IT skills;
efficient time management and organisation skills;
the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


This module explores a wide range of fictions of proper and improper feminine conduct. It takes as its starting point a paradigmatic novel of unmarried motherhood, Elizabeth Gaskell's Ruth. Ruth's oddly chaste "fall" stands as a point of reference for later texts concerned with the hazards and exhilarations of vice. Other novels on this module present many different aspects of female sexual misconduct, as we encounter unfaithful wives, unmarried mothers, prostitutes, divorcees, bigamists and murderesses. We shall explore how female vice is both constructed and contained within these novels, paying particular attention to recurring tropes such as the love of "finery", the perils of seduction, strategies of deception or masquerade, and the redemptive powers of motherhood.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours may include lectures, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Reading; preparation for seminars/essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar contribution

1700 word unassessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

One unassessed essay of 1700 words is required. This does not form part of the assessment for this module, but is a requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/04/2008


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019