Art & Literature in Victorian London

The Blue Closet by RossettiInstructor: Florence S. Boos

During the preliminary meetings in Iowa City May 15 - 18, we will hold four class sessions, view slides of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and view relevant materials in the UI Libraries Special Collections. We will leave the United States on May 21, arriving in the U.K. on May 22, and spend four weeks in central London, holding classes in the Bloomsbury district.

Students will read four prose works centered on London life: Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Israel Zangwill’s Children of the Ghetto, and William Morris’s News from Nowhere (an illustrated version is at These will be supplemented with writings by several London-based poets associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement: Christina Rossetti, D.G. Rossetti, Augusta Webster, and William Morris. In addition, we will visit Oxford and Cambridge, and read Oxford-associated works such as Matthew Arnold’s "Sweetness and Light," G.M. Hopkins’s "Binsley Poplars" and "Duns Scotus’s Oxford," and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.


Students are expected to write brief essays on the readings and sites visited and prepare a 6-8 page page using materials found in the rare books, periodicals or manuscripts in the British Library.

The program includes trips to view artifacts at the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the London Museum. In addition, students will visit Kensington Palace and Hampton Court, Dickens’s house in central London, Keats' House in Hampstead, Morris’s house in Hammersmith, the Leighton House, and Zangwill’s neighborhood in the East End. During an excursion to Oxford, participants will view Pre-Raphaelite paintings at the Ashmolean Museum; visit colleges of Victorian interest, such as Keble, Exeter, and Balliol; and observe the stained glass windows of Christ Church College.

Copyright © 2007 Florence Boos. All rights reserved.
Last update May 20, 2007 20:24