A brief note: My Victorian literature exam list focuses on texts that work within the gothic mode. Texts may be removed. I’ve also included some literary criticism in order to concentrate my readings on schools of thought that interest me.

I am blogging my notes as I take them and will link each texts to its corresponding notes.


Novels and Short Stories

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818/23/31)


Thomas De Quincey

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821)


Sir Walter Scott

“The Tapestried Chamber” (1828)


Unknown, probably James Malcolm Rymer or Thomas Peckett Prest

The String of Pearls: A Romance (1846/7)


William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair (1848)


Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre (1847)

Villette (1853)


Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights (1847)


Anne Bronte

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)


Charles Dickens

Hard Times (1854)

Our Mutual Friend (1865)


Elizabeth Gaskell

“The Old Nurse’s Story” (1852)

“Lois the Witch” (1859)

“The Grey Woman” (1861)



Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“The Haunted and the Haunters” or “The House and the Brain” (1859)


Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White (1860)

The Moonstone (1868)


George Eliot

The Mill on the Floss (1860)

Middlemarch (1872)


Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)


Anthony Trollope

The Way We Live Now (1875)


Olive Schreiner

 The Story of an African Farm (1883)


Vernon Lee

Miss Brown (1884)


Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)

“The Body-Snatcher” (1884)


H. Rider Haggard

King Solomon’s Mines (1885)


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet (1887)

The Sign of Four (1890)

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (1892)

“The Adventure of the Final Problem” (1893)

“The Adventure of the Crooked Man” (1893)


William Morris

News from Nowhere (1890)


Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)


Arthur Machen

The Great God Pan (1890/94)

“The Inmost Light” (1894)

“The White People” (1899, Published 1904)


Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891)

Jude the Obscure (1895)


H.G Wells

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)

The War of the Worlds (1898)

“The Flowering of the Strange Orchid” (1894)

“The Truth About Pyecraft” (1903)

“The Empire of the Ants” (1905)


Bram Stoker

Dracula (1897)


Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness (1899)


Rudyard Kipling

The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Tales (1888)

Kim (1901)


Lucas Malet

The Wages of Sin (1891)


Algernon Blackwood

“The Empty House” (1906)

“The Willows” (1907)

“The Camp of the Dog” (1908)

“A Psychical Invasion” (1908)



Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)



Thomas De Quincey

“On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts” (1827)


Sir Walter Scott

Selections from “Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft” (1830)


Thomas Carlyle

from Past and Present (1843): “Midas,” “Gospel of Mammonism,” “Labor,” “Democracy,” and “Captains of Industry”


John Ruskin

from Modern Painters (1843): “Introduction,” “Definition of Greatness in Art,” “Of Ideas of Truth,” “Of Ideas of Beauty”

from The Stones of Venice (1851-53): “The Nature of the Gothic”


Frederick Engels

from The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845): “Preface,” “Introduction,” “The Industrial Proletariat,” “The Great Towns,” “Competition,” “Irish Immigrations,” and “Labour Movements”


Charles Darwin

from On the Origin of Species (1859): “Introduction,” “Variation under Domestication,” “Struggle for Existence” “Natural Selection” and “Recapitulation and Conclusion”


from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872): “Introduction,” “General Principles of Expression,” “General Principles of Expression- continued,” “General Principles of Expression-concluded,” “Special Expressions of Man: Suffering and Weeping,” “Low Spirits, Anxiety, Grief, Dejection, Despair,” “Hatred and Anger,” “Surprise, Astonishment, Fear, Horror” and “Concluding Remarks and Summary”


John Stuart Mill

On Liberty (1859)


Matthew Arnold

“The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (1864)

from Culture and Anarchy (1867): “Introduction,” “Sweetness and Light,” “Doing as One Likes,” “Hebraism and Hellenism,” “Porro Unum Est Necessarium,” and “Conclusion”


John Henry Cardinal Newman

from Apologia Pro Vita Sua: “Note A. Liberalism” (1864)

Karl Marx

from Capital: Volume I (1867, translated 1887)



Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“Mariana” (1830) “The Lady of Shalott” (1832) “The Lotos-Eaters,” (1832) “The Palace of Art” (1832, revised 1842) “Ulysses” (1842) In Memoriam A.H.H (1850) “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854)

from Idylls of the King (1869): “The Coming of Arthur,” “The Holy Grail” and “Guinevere”


Robert Browning

“Porphyria’s Lover” (1836) “My Last Duchess” (1842) “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister” (1842) “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” (1855) “Love Among the Ruins” (1855) “Fra Lippo Lippi” (1855) “Caliban upon Setebos” (1864)

from The Ring and the Book (1868-69): Book I


Emily Bronte

“The night is darkening round me” (1837, 1902) “I’m happiest when most away” (1838, 1910) “Remembrance” (1846)


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“The Cry of the Children” (1843) “To George Sand: A Desire” (1844) “To George Sand: A Recognition” (1844) “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” (1850)

from “Aurora Leigh” (1856): Books II and V

from “Sonnets from the Portuguese” (1850): #13: “And wilt thou have me fashion into speech,” #24: “Let the world’s sharpness, like a clasping knife,” #28: “My Letters! All dead paper mute and white,” # 38: “First time he kissed me, he but only kissed,” #43: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”


Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“Jenny” (1848, 1870) “The Blessed Damozel” (1850) “The Burden of Ninevah” (1856) “Eden Bower” (1869)


Matthew Arnold

“Isolation, To Marguerite” (1849, 1857) “The Buried Life” (1852) “Philomela” (1853) “The Scholar Gipsy” (1853) “Dover Beach” (1867) Christina Rossetti “In an Artist’s Studio” (1856) “Goblin Market” (1862) ‘The Convent Threshold” (1862) “Song (‘When I am dead, my dearest’)” (1862) “Remember” (1862) “Winter: My Secret” (1862)


George Meredith

Selections from “Modern Love” (1862)


Algernon Charles Swinburne

“The Triumph of Time” (1866) “Hymn to Proserpine” (1866) “Anactoria” (1866) “The Leper” (1866)


Augusta Webster “A Castaway” (1870) “Circe” (1870) from “Mother and Daughter” Sonnet Cycle (1895): #1: “Young laughters, and my music! Aye till now,” #2: “That she is beautiful is not delight,” #3: “I watch the sweet grave face in timorous thought,” #6: “Sometimes, as young things will, she vexes me,” #10: “Love’s Counterfeit,” #11: “Love’s Mourner”


Gerard Manley Hopkins

“God’s Grandeur” (1877, 1918) “The Windhover” (1877, 1918) “Pied Beauty” (1877, 1918) “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” (1881, 1918) “Carrion Comfort” (1885, 1918)


Amy Levy

“Xantippe” (1881) “Epitaph (On a Commonplace Person Who Died in Bed)” (1884) “A Minor Poet” (1884)


Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper)

“To Christina Rossetti” (1896) “A Pen-Drawing of Leda” (1892)


Rudyard Kipling

“The White Man’s Burden” (1899)



Patrick Brantlinger

Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914 (1988)


Richard Menke

Telegraphic Realism: Victorian Fiction and Other Information Systems (2007)


Allen MacDuffie

Victorian Literature, Energy, and the Ecological Imagination (2014)



Jesse Oak Taylor

The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Fiction from Dickens to Woolf (2016)


Emily Steinlight

Populating the Novel: Literary Form and the Politics of Surplus Life (2018)

Victorian Literature List by Caitlin Duffy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.