The School of English at the University of Sheffield will soon be launching its very first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), and it will feature weeks dedicated to the eighteenth century! This free online course is titled ‘Literature and the Country House’, and it promises to take students on a journey through the literature of the country house from the time of Thomas More to Oscar Wilde.
This online course (which is open to absolutely anyone!) is powered by Futurelearn and will feature video content written and delivered by specialist researchers at the University of Sheffield and filmed on location at such glorious properties as Chatsworth House, Nostell Priory, Bolsover Castle and Brodsworth Hall. Futurelearn have even prepared an interactive map, to give prospective students a sense of where these country houses are and how they will tie into the course: http://t.co/SkrWWREIei
In addition to this video content there will be a range of downloadable materials available and an opportunity to engage in live discussion online.
I am fortunate enough to be one of the mentors on the course and I will be participating in and helping to moderate these discussion (I’m very excited about the whole project, but am especially looking forward to one week which discuses eighteenth-century politeness and The Spectator; both of which speak to my own research).
The course is already being heralded in the press as the perfect outlet for fans of costume drama, with the Yorkshire Post suggesting that it is an opportunity to discover ‘the truths of the real Downton Abbey.’
It will also be a lot of fun for anyone interested in literature written any time between the early modern period and the late nineteenth century.
Something that becomes clear quite quickly in the course is that the country house is afforded a constant position throughout the history of English Literature, and as such provides a perfect perspective from which to explore a rich and diverse range of fascinating and entertaining texts.
To find out more visit the official site: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/country-house-literature/
I look forward to (virtually) seeing you there!