Reconstruct the literary history of the English country house
For over 450 years, country houses have attracted the attention of celebrated writers like Thomas More and Charles Dickens.
On this six-week course, you’ll trace depictions of country houses through the works of some of England’s most celebrated writers and some lesser known authors. You’ll journey through the early 16th century to the late 19th century, exploring what the country houses depicted in literature represent and say about society at the time.
Explore the country house as a tool for social commentary
From Jane Austen to Oscar Wilde, many writers throughout history have used their work to highlight social inequality and difference.
Drawing on a range of perspectives including politics and gender, you’ll discuss what close readings of key texts can tell us about contemporary attitudes, and develop your own textual interpretations.
Expand your knowledge of the literary canon
Guided by experts in English Literature, you’ll gain insights from leading academics in the fields of various forms and periods of literature.
Collaborating with your fellow learners throughout, you’ll be introduced to new perspectives and approaches to literature, enriching how you engage with both the texts on this course and beyond.
Access materials from the Special Collections archives at the University of Sheffield
Using archival material including prose, poems, and plays, you’ll develop key close reading skills and research approaches, allowing you to interpret each text more thoroughly and deepen your knowledge of literary history.
By the end of this course, you’ll have explored a wide range of texts centred on the English country house. Using the perspectives you’ve explored, you’ll be able to discuss representations of country houses in literature and engage with texts more deeply.
This course is designed for anyone who enjoys reading and discussing literary texts in English. It would be particularly beneficial for those who are preparing for further study in English Literature, building your text analysis skills. If you are already at degree level in English, this course will supplement your studies.