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London: Charles Dickens' Victorian London

Charles Dickens' Victorian London: Fictions of Urbanization

  • NYU Washington Square: Spring 2018
  • London, ENGLAND: March 11-18, 2018 (Spring Break)
  • IDSEM-UG 1874/ELEC-GG 2690 | 4 credits | Instructor: Sara Murphy (NYU Gallatin)
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate & Graduate, NYU students
  • TOPICS: Literature, urban studies, environmental studies, and more
  • DEADLINE: UPDATE: extended to Nov. 7 & now open to graduate students!

Students are admitted on a rolling basis and programs may fill before the deadline. Students are encouraged to apply early.

This course meets during the Spring semester, and the Spring Break travel component is required for participation.

Info Session

Meet Prof. Murphy and learn more about the course!

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 3-4pm
Room 801, Gallatin Building (1 Washington Place)

sketch from Dickens book showing two men sitting in messy office

London is a Victorian city: the years during which Queen Victoria reigned (1837-1901) marked its development as one of the first truly modern, global metropolises. Charles Dickens is the most important novelistic voice of that city, producing unforgettable images of its streets, its people, and its institutions throughout his writing career. In this course, we engage a study of the writer and his works through the exploration of London as a modern urban space.

We'll begin the course with Dickens' journalism, setting it in the context of the rise and expansion of the periodical press, and focus our attention on some of the major urban issues that arose in the mid-century: slum clearance, policing, the rise of the middle class, education, and environmental issues, such as the need for a modern sewage system, that arose in a rapidly expanding urban space.  We will then turn to two of Dickens' novels: Oliver Twist  (1837-39) and Bleak House (1852-53). How does the novel "write" the city? How does the city shape the form of the novel?

Punctuating and enriching our reading and discussion of these novels and the city they imagine and depict, we'll travel to London over spring break. With guided walks, museum visits, and guest speakers, we will learn more about Dickens' London and contrast it with the London of today.

Gallatin undergraduates: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar.

English majors: This course may be counted as an English major elective [contact the English Department's undergraduate director or program aide for details].


  • Undergraduate & graduate students of all NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing


  • Tuition, 4 credits: undergraduates (included in NYU flat-rate tuition for full-time standing); graduates ($7,588 including registration & services fees for 4 credits)
  • Program Fee: $850

Program Fee includes housing in a hotel in central London, round-trip group flight, mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Most meals

Financial Aid

A limited number of full program fee waivers are available for this course. Eligibility: Current Gallatin students and Spring semester incoming Gallatin transfer students (Gallatin admission must be confirmed). Students must have good academic standing, must have a current FAFSA on file, and must show unmet financial need. Students request the waiver when submitting the travel course application. Requests will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis.

See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on additional opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Housing: Students are required to reside in housing arranged by NYU Gallatin. Students who have questions or concerns about accessibility or disability-related accommodations should contact NYU’s Moses Center.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.

Helpful LinksLonely Planet England, US State Department: Travel to England

Contact Info

NYU Gallatin Office of Global Programs
411 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003
1 (212) 998-7133 phone
1 (212) 995-4265 fax

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