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London: Charles Dickens' Victorian London

Charles Dickens' Victorian London: Fictions of Urbanization

  • London, ENGLAND: May 31-June 20, 2020
  • TRAVL-UG 9130 | 4 credits | Instructor: Sara Murphy (NYU Gallatin)
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate, NYU and non-NYU students
  • TOPICS: Literature, urban studies, environmental studies, and more

Info Session

Meet Prof. Murphy and learn more about the course! Location: 411 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor, Gallatin Global Conference Room

Thursday, Feb. 6, 3:00-4:00pm

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 participate in guided walks, visit museums, and hear from guest speakers to learn more about Dickens' London and contrast it with the London of today.

Gallatin undergraduates: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar as well as the Humanities requirement.


  • Undergraduate students, NYU and non-NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing
  • Must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2020 term


All advertised fees below will be due according to NYU’s summer billing cycle (typically early May).

*Program fee includes mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration. IMPORTANT: the program fee becomes nonrefundable after students confirm participation in the course.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Round-trip airfare (students purchase their own tickets and are responsible for their own accommodation for travel beyond the program dates); students will be notified when to book flights
  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Most meals and local transportation

Financial Aid

The Gallatin Dean's Scholarship is available for this program. See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on eligibility and 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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