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Lost Worlds of the Long Nineteenth Century (TRU2013)

StaffProfessor Jason Hall - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Looking at well-known novelists such as Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as some lesser-known writers, the module follows five popular manifestations of the lost-world genre:

  • the hollow-earth theory
  • lost African races
  • ancient Rome
  • Atlantis
  • lands with prehistoric creatures.

By examining these meetings between ‘modern’ and ‘ancient’ worlds, we can learn more about some of the major assumptions and anxieties of the Victorians, their contemporaries and also their immediate heirs.   

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the literature and history of nineteenth-century lost worlds (real and imaginary) and contemporary meditations on the decline of civilizations
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to place literary texts in the context of social and cultural events (e.g., fin de siècle and high imperialism)
  • 3. Demonstrate an advanced ability to engage with concepts such as race, class, nation and region

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse iterature and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context.
  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Through seminar work, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups.
  • 8. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 9. Through research for seminars and essays demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.
  • 10. Through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate an advanced capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to critically reflect on their own learning process.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Hollow Earth, e.g. Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)
  • Undiscovered Africa, e.g. H. Rider Haggard, She (1887)
  • Roman Remains, e.g. Charles Dudley Lampen, Mirango the Man-Eater (1899)
  • Atlantean Encounter, e.g. C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne, The Lost Continent: The Story of Atlantis (1899)
  • Prehistoric Plateau, e.g. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World (1912)

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching55 x 1-hour lectures: Lectures will provide a spine of knowledge through which students can develop understanding. They will introduce literary and/or historical context and theoretical ideas that will be explored further in the seminars.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching105 x 2-hour seminars: Seminars will provide an opportunity to discuss the set primary sources for the week, in relation to relevant literary, historical, or theoretical context(s). The structure of each seminar will vary, but activities will include whole-class and group discussions and primary source analysis.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching42 x 2 hour workshops: Workshops provide an opportunity to develop writing skills and to discuss the topics of the module in more depth in a small-group environment
Guided Independent Study131Independent study to prepare for lectures, seminars, and set assignments. Students are expected to read and engage in detail with the required reading for each topic, familiarilising themselves with the set primary works.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Annotated bibliography1000 words1-10Oral feedback from tutor in virtual office hours

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay902000 words1-10Written
Participation10Continuous1-7, 10Oral feedback with opportunity for office hours follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-10Referral/deferral period
ParticipationRepeat study or mitigation1-7,10N/a

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Primary texts (unless otherwise indicated, students are free to select any print or online edition of the primary texts—providing they are unabridged. Many are readily available free of charge at and

  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World (1912)
  • H. Rider Haggard, She (1887)
  • C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne, The Lost Continent: The Story of Atlantis (1899)
  • Charles Dudley Lampen, Mirango the Man-Eater (1899)
  • Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)

Selected secondary texts

  • Stephen Arata, Fictions of Loss in the Victorian Fin de Siecle (Cambridge UP, 1996)
  • Allienne R. Becker, The Lost Worlds Romance: From Dawn Till Dusk (Greenwood, 1992)
  • Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness (Cornell UP, 1988)
  • Nicholas Daly, Modernism, Romance and the Fin de Siecle (Cambridge UP, 2000)
  • Bradley Deane, Masculinity and the New Imperialism (Cambridge UP, 2014)
  • Neil Hultgren, Melodramatic Imperial Writing (Ohio UP, 2014)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE:
  • Exeter Learning Environment (e-learning platform)
  • J-STOR
  • Project Muse
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Internet Archive
  • Various databases of nineteenth-century resources available via the Exeter Electronic Library

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Victorian, Fiction, History, Fantasy, Adventure