Universität Wien FIND

123426 SE Literary & Cultural Studies Seminar / BA Paper / MA British/Irish/New English (2020W)

Plants in 19th-Century Short Fiction and Poetry

11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 18 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 09.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Friday 09.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Digital
Saturday 10.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Saturday 10.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Digital
Saturday 10.10. 14:30 - 15:30 Digital
Friday 23.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Friday 23.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Digital
Saturday 24.10. 09:00 - 11:00 Digital
Saturday 24.10. 12:00 - 14:00 Digital
Saturday 24.10. 14:30 - 15:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course examines the ways in which nineteenth-century writers and poets reimagined the role of plants in humans’ lives. In their works, plants appear not as inanimate, immovable natural beings that are merely part of a setting; they are characters. We will examine how colonialism shaped new meanings of plants, as well as how through plants, nineteenth-century writers commented on imperialism. While today the monstrous plant is frequently interpreted as a metaphor for environmental degradation and climate change, in the nineteenth century plant horror was largely the result of various colonialist practices, as short fiction of Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, and Fred M. White demonstrates. Additionally, through plants, nineteenth-century poets explored the changing status of women, sexuality, and even the meaning of democracy. Through selected short stories and poems, we will thus explore how nineteenth-century authors reenvisioned plants and examine the ecology of the human-nature relationship.

Please note: This course will take place online.

Assessment and permitted materials

Active participation in course discussions; oral presentation; at least 2 contributions to each forum discussion; paper outline; final paper/thesis.

A presentation should last 45 minutes. Students need to get in touch with the instructor at least one week before their presentation and discuss the topic that they would like to deal with in their presentation. Your presentation should include an analysis of assigned readings, your own interpretation of the chosen short story or poem(s), a detailed examination of an excerpt from the short story/poem(s), and a question/task for the audience. The audience should be ready to ask questions and/or provide comments at the end of each presentation.

Contributions to Forum Discussions:
2 Forum discussions will be open on Moodle. Students will be asked to contribute to each discussion. One contribution should be between 70 and 120 words.

Paper Outline:
The instructor will explain how to write a paper outline in the first session.

Final Paper/Thesis:
Final paper/thesis topics are chosen by students but can be discussed with the instructor. The structure of a term paper/thesis will be explained by the instructor. Any form of plagiarism will result in a failing grade.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

• Active participation in class discussions (including responses to presentations): 15%
• Oral presentation: 20%
• Forum contributions & Paper outline: 15%
• Final paper/thesis: 50%

To pass the course, students must attain at least 60%

Examination topics

There will be no written exam at the end of the course.

Reading list

All texts will be available via Moodle.

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612, MA 844; MA 844(2)
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-322, BA09.2, 10.2, MA4, MA6, MA7; MA 4.1, 4.2
Lehrinhalt: 12-0388

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:18