Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, first published 1860 Copy


A mixture of lectures, discussions and workshops including viewing and discussing short clips from TV and film adaptations of one of Dickens’ most popular novels. Students will receive a short list of pre-course reading when they book – all easily accessible online. The course centres on a single novel (though comparisons are welcome) but it is not a general course about Dickens nor is there any particular focus on Dickens’s life.  We will look at  the novel’s key themes, its memorable characters, its historical setting and its reception by the reading public.


Tutor: Rachel Malik

Dates:  26 and 27 June 2018

Time:  10.30-4.30pm

Fee:    HLSI members £80

Non-members £95

Venue: Gosling Room


Outline for two day course

Day 1

Morning. Lecture and discussion: The novel’s historical setting and narrative structure including the impact of its first publication in serial form and its multiple endings.

Afternoon. Lecture and discussion. The representation of childhood: focus on the early part of the novel and the adult Pip’s recollections of his childhood self. How do these impact on the key themes of money, crime and class?

Day 2

Morning. Workshop: How does Dickens construct character? Dickens is famous for his minor characters and in Great Expectations there are many memorable ones: Mr Pumblechook, Mr Wopsle, Herbert Pocket, Mr Wemmick, the Aged Parent, Young Orlick. How are they constructed as characters and what is their narrative and symbolic role?

Afternoon. Lecture and discussion: The novel’s many endings and their various settings. Looking at the last chapters and how various stories and arguments are resolved or not. Does Pip get more or less than he deserves?