Paper #1 Assignment Sheet


Choose one of the topics below, and respond to the prompt in a 900-word paper. Be specific, include quotations, and make sure to have a thesis that you systematically prove throughout the paper.


The paper should be double-spaced, with 12-point Times New Roman Font, and should follow proper citation guidelines. Consult for complete information on formatting, writing a good essay, and citations. If you need additional citation assistance, look at for information on in-text citation and for information on works cited pages.

 Due Date:

8pm on October 13th by email ( (worth 12% of final grade)

Topic 1: Nature and the City

Possible Poems: “A March Day in London,” “London in July,” “A Ballad of London,” “East London,” “Lines Written in Kensington Gardens,” “To Lallie,” “In the British Museum,” “London” from “Two Songs,” “Impression Du Matin,” “The Golden Gallery at Saint Paul’s”

Since their predecessors’ poems traditionally addressed the country and nature, Victorian poets had the challenge of figuring out how to write poetry about the vibrant, modern city of London. Choose a poem about London from the above list and write an essay on how this poem about the city (or a place in the city) discusses nature. Does it compare the city (e.g. pavement, street lights, vehicles) to nature? Does it suggest that the city is more or less beautiful than nature? Does it suggest that the city should have more or less nature? Make sure to explain what these allusions to nature tell us about the speaker’s thoughts on London.

 Topic 2: Traveling in the City

Possible Works: “Ballade of an Omnibus,” “A Ride in an Omnibus,” “In Dull Brown,” “A Lost Masterpiece”

The omnibus was a Victorian invention that dramatically changed life for Londoners from every part of society. Choose a work from the above list and write about its portrayal of the omnibus: is it a good or bad invention, according to the speaker/narrator? How does it change society? How does the speaker/narrator feel about the people who use that method of transportation? How does it relate to gender and class? If there are other transportation methods mentioned in the literary work, how are they portrayed?

 Topic 3: Literary Locations

Possible Locations: The British Museum, Kensington Gardens, Seven Dials, the East End, a lock hospital, Waterloo Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Fleet Street

 As we’ve discussed, each area of London had its own distinct character that Victorian authors and readers would have recognized. Choose a literary work that addresses a location from the above list and write an essay on the role of that location in the work: is it portrayed in a flattering or unflattering light? What aspects of that location does the literary work emphasize? How does the speaker/narrator feel about the people who spend time in that location? What are the connections between the location and class, gender, or religion?

 Topic 4: Choose your Own

If you have an idea for your own topic, you can suggest it to me for approval. Make sure that your topic focuses on some aspect of London and a literary work on the syllabus from before October 12. To obtain approval for your topic, email me your topic and thesis for your paper by October 7th at noon.

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