Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2013/14 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3293 Victoria's Secrets: Secrecy in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 20

School of English

Module manager: Dr James Mussell

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2013/14

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

This module is not approved as an Elective


To know a secret is not to tell someone something: but the pleasure we get from keeping secrets is often only realized when we tell. All narratives are acts of telling that defer the revelations of secrets to keep readers in suspense. All literary works then, embody secrecy in their form. Yet secrets also have a wider value in society. As withheld information, they ensure some people know more than others. Depending on the secret, this might give someone the edge over a rival in business or love, allow scandal to be concealed, or create the opportunity for blackmail. This course examines the role of secrecy in nineteenth-century literature and society.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students will be able to:
Demonstrate understanding of secrecy as a concept through a range of theoretical and historical case studies;
Effectively analyse literature from across the nineteenth century;
Relate concepts of secrecy to their historical contexts;
Engage with nonliterary source material from the nineteenth century.


ach seminar uses a literary text to explore a particular aspect of secrecy. The accompanying lectures develop some of the conceptual material, enriching our discussions of the texts. Seminars may include:
Sex and secrecy
The science and seduction of investigation
Secrecy, the occult, and the uncanny
Seminars on narrative (intentionality; indeterminacy; Bleak House; and Lady Audley’s Secret)

Teaching methods

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 lecture, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars
- 1,700 word unassessed essay

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words (including quotations and footnotes).100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

One unassessed esay of 1,700 words is required (submitted during Week 7). this does not form part of the assessement for the 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: 07/02/2014


Browse Other Catalogues

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

© Copyright Leeds 2019