English 362
British Literature 1798-1890

Fall 2011

Study Guide for Final Exam


Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Ferrum College

Course schedule

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Format of the Exam:

I. Six five-point questions requiring discussion of at least one example: 60%

II. Two twenty-point essay questions: 40%


General Guidelines:

  • Don't forget that in ANGEL, you can set the calendar to display as a list, in order to view a list of the assignments for each month or week.

  • Review all readings, putting emphasis on being most familiar with works and concepts that received the most attention in class discussions since the midterm.

  • You may bring a Norton anthology of Romantic and Victorian British Literature to the exam.

  • Be sure all your answers make reference to one or more specific works of literature.

  • Write all answers in complete sentences and standard English. Test answers aren’t expected to be as polished stylistically or mechanically as out-of-class papers, but college-level writing skills must be used to make your answers clear to the reader who evaluates them.

  • You should have a good understanding of how the works we have studied for this test represent the Victorian or Romantic period in British literature. Also think about comparisons among different works by different authors (especially for the ten-point questions).

  • You are not responsible for most of the background material in the anthology's introduction sections, or the anthology web site or other materials that have been recommended for this course. But reviewing the introductions can help improve your grasp of the literature and Romanticism and major concepts we discussed.
  Suggestions of Topics to Know (if we haven't put much emphasis on some of these in class, don't worry about them):

Know well at least one work by each author we have studied since the midterm exam.

Romanticism and its influence in Victorian period

Nineteenth-century realism

Dramatic monologue



Elegiac poem

Lyric and narrative poems that don't fit into above categories:  know some examples from each poet in Victorian period, especially poems we spent time on in class, and review a few examples of Romantic poems.

Adaptation of material from older legends or folklore or mythology, including Arthurian legends

Influence of Shakespeare

Nonsense literature

Satire and comedy

Class conflicts in Victorian literature

Views or voices of working classes or lower classes in 19th-century literature

Role of chance, circumstance, or coincidence in Victorian fiction

Depiction of English landscape and architecture

Some elements of Tess of the d'Urbervilles:

Influence on Tess of her family
Durbeyfields vs. d'Urbervilles (past and present)
Alec d'Urberville
Angel Clare
Rural customs
Talbothays Dairy
Tess as tragic heroine

The importance of names in several major works we read

Pre-Raphaelite art and poetry

Art vs. life as theme in works we studied

Literature about writers or writing

Individual vs. society as theme in works we studied

Duties to or expectations of society vs. desire to escape in Victorian literature

Materialism vs. art or other values in life as a theme

Serial publication of Victorian fiction (know what this is but don't expect to have to write about it)

Courtship and marriage in Victorian literature

Views of women in Victorian literature

Influence of Darwinian theories in Victorian literature (e.g., evolution and natural selection)

Influence of industrialism in Victorian literature

  Other Tips on Exam Questions:
  • If questions ask for comparison/contrast, be sure you include specific, explicit points of comparison and/or contrast in your essay.
  • You can discuss some Romantic literature and Alice in Wonderland in your questions, but be sure most of your examples are from the Victorian rather than the Romantic period.
  • For tips on answering test questions on literature, see pages Study Guide for Midterm Exam and Pointers for Taking Essay Tests. Many writing and literature textbooks (such as The Little, Brown Handbook) also give advice about responding to essay questions and examples of student essays.


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