ENGL 3856 Topics in Genre Studies: 19thc. Brit Novel-Pop Fiction


Teresa Nugent, PhD
Email: teresa.nugent@colorado.edu


Do you ever wonder where mysteries, detective stories, and horror fiction came from? This course explores the origins of many of your favorite fiction genres in nineteenth-century British novels. Readings include Jane Austen’s parody of the Gothic novel, Northanger Abbey; Charlotte Bronte’s coming of age novel, Jane Eyre; one of the most popular 19th c. sensation novels, Lady Audley’s Secret; a foundational work of detective fiction, The Moonstone; and the classic horror tale, Dracula!

ENGL 3856 covers special topics in genres. Topics vary each semester. May be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours for different topics. Prerequisites: Restricted to students with 27-180 credits (Sophomores, Juniors, or Seniors).


By the end of the semester, students who actively participate in course activities and apply themselves to reading and writing assignments will be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Identify literary conventions associated with specific subgenres of the novel, including Gothic, Bildungsroman, sensation, mystery, detective, and horror fiction.
  • Apply close reading techniques to interpret literary devices and narrative strategies in novels.
  • Identify and analyze significant historical and biographical events that influenced the development of novels in nineteenth-century Britain.
  • Analyze and critique scholarship on British literature and narrative theory.
  • Improve your analytical writing skills through frequent composition of short answers and essays that formulate and defend interpretations of specific texts.


Print edition of the following novels have been ordered at the CU Bookstore. I will also provide links to free, online editions of these works in Canvas.

  • Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey. Penguin Classics, 2003. ISBN: 978-0141439792
  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret. Oxford UP, 2012. ISBN: 978-0199577033
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre. Penguin Classics, 2006. ISBN: 978-0141441146
  • Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone. Penguin Classics, 1999. ISBN: 978-0140434088
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula. WW Norton, 1996. ISBN 9780393970128


  • Course Quiz –5%
  • Discussion posts/Journal entries – 50%
  • Zoom conference – 5%
  • Midterm Paper – 20%
  • Final Paper – 20%


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Monday – Friday
9:00am to 4:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado