Sample Programme Synopsis

Week 1: Romanticism, literature and landscape

The lectures and seminars examine the ways in which Romantic poets changed our perceptions of nature – especially through their involvement with the English Lake District. The field trip this week takes us to the heart of the Lake District and across Coniston Water to visit the homes of John Ruskin and William Wordsworth. We also visit the Ruskin Library on campus, the only dedicated Ruskin centre in the country, which houses a large collection of his works and runs specialist exhibitions.

Week 2: Industrialisation, political change, and the novel

Focusing on the emergence of Britain, and especially Lancashire, as an industrial powerhouse, and the evocations and criticism by scholars, writers and artists of the time. We will visit Quarry Bank Mill in Styal – a National Trust property that continues to showcase the machinery of the cotton industry within a restored mill. It is also the setting for Channel 4’s drama The Mill which vividly portrays the hardships of working-class life.

Week 3: The Great War and beyond

We trace some of the effects of the First World War on British culture and memory through the rest of the century, up to the present. A visit to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester offers one interpretation of our relationship with war and conflict. On this week’s trip there is also time to explore Manchester itself with its plentiful shops, museums, and great places to eat.

Week 4: Post-colonial Britain

This week focuses on the transformation of Britain since the 1950s, the legacy of the colonial past and the rise of new multicultural communities, new language communities, and new forms of popular culture. We will also visit the Museum of Liverpool and examine the city’s role as an iconic site of immigration and cultural diversity in the history of the North West.

For more details see the weekly topics and suggested readings