Past Courses


Anglo-Saxons and Vikings (BRST 152)
Anders Winroth, Forst Family Professor of History, Yale University

This course examines the intertwined history of the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons in the period between the first raids in ca. 790 and the Norman conquest of 1066. We will study the almost constant warfare between the two groups, as well as the ways in which they negotiated peaceful interactions leading to large groups of Scandinavians being integrated into English society and culture. We will also examine the culture that flourished in this period in literature, languages, and art.

Common Law and Other Law in England (BRST 153)
Anders Winroth, Forst Family Professor of History, Yale University

This course explores the history of English Common Law, from its foundation through the organization of earlier law, legal innovation, and inspiration from continental law, to its record by Blackstone, with a few excursions to its influence on US constitutional law. Topics include Henry II’s creation of the system in the twelfth century, the Magna Carta, the development of the system through legal fictions (bills of Middlesex, etc.), the competition among the courts (some of which applied Roman and canon law rather than common law), and feudal tenure.

Modern British Theater (BRST 154)
Mark Wheatley, Writer and Lecturer

This course offers an introduction to London theater through current productions of classic and contemporary works, including commercial, subsidized, and alternative theater; productions from the National Theatre, London; and the best of the fringe. We will examine theatrical conventions and the historical and cultural contexts of the plays, the economics of the theater in London, and the political and social implications of the stories the plays tell. This course engages with behind-the-scenes work of British theater as well as viewing performances.

British Art and Landscape (BRST 177)
Martin Postle, Deputy Director for Grants and Publications

This course will examine the role of visual art in articulating cultural, literary, political, and environmental approaches to the landscape of the British Isles in the period from 1750 to ca. 1850. Topics will include country house and “prospect” landscapes, the landscaped garden, Britain and Italy, academic landscapes, town and cityscapes, travel and topography, and the evolution of the romantic landscape. The course will take full advantage of landscape art in museums and art galleries, including the National Gallery, Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Photography in Victorian and Edwardian Britain: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Politics (BRST 150)
Sean Willcock, Postdoctoral Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

This course explored the aesthetic and political impact of photography on Victorian and Edwardian society. While being anchored in British art history, this exploration was necessarily international in scope. From the Anglo-Gallic rivalry over the competing methods of early photographic production that were developed by the Englishman Henry Fox Talbot and the Frenchman Louis Daguerre, to the fast-paced spread of the protean image-making technology throughout colonial territories, the tale of British photography during the nineteenth century and beyond is a resolutely global one. This program aimed to harbor an awareness of the diversity of photographic practices, agents, and audiences. It looked at how the daguerreotype, the calotype, the wet-plate collodion process, and the eventual development of point-and-shoot dry film all worked in their various ways to transform the nature of art, science, journalism, and travel for the nineteenth-century British, as well as for multifarious colonial populations. A consideration of the work of key photographers such as Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Clementina Hawarden, Henry Peach Robinson, Roger Fenton, Felice Beato, Lala Deen Dayal, and numerous other commercial and amateur practitioners enabled an assessment of the heterogeneous ways that photographs were produced, consumed, and exhibited both within and across boundaries of nationality, class, race, and gender.

History of British Gardens, Landscape Parks, and Country House Architecture 1500 to 1750 (BRST 200)
Bryan Fuermann, Landscape Historian, specializing in European landscape history from ancient Rome to 1900. 

This course explored, chronologically and stylistically, the history of landscape and country house architecture in Britain from the sixteenth century to the mid-eighteenth century. During this period, the British—undergoing significant political, economic, and social change—shifted from adopting Italian, French, and Dutch principles of landscape design in their gardens to developing their own ideas of what a garden or park could be, how it should be laid out architecturally, and what its relationship to the house or palace would be. In the process they transformed landscape and country house architectural history. The course featured visits to several important examples of historic landscapes and houses, including Hampton Court, Blenheim Palace, Rousham, Stowe, Chiswick, and others.

Victorian Fiction (BRST 418)
Andrew Sanders, Emeritus Professor, Department of English, Durham University

This course examined a selection of Victorian texts that offer a broad view of Victorian life and culture, with emphasis on novels that show “outsiders” adjusting to the complexities of urban and rural life in nineteenth-century England. Some of them are orphans, some are disoriented, alien, or alienated; all are, in their different ways, aspirants who find their place in society through art, intellectual enterprise, or spiritual enlightenment.

Modern British Drama (BRST 478)
Sheila Fox, Freelance critic and BBC Producer

This class studied representative works of twentieth and twenty-first century British drama, based on current productions on the London stage, with attention to the social issues the plays addressed as well as theatrical conventions developed by playwrights and actors both on the fringe and in the mainstream of the West End. Weekly visits to a variety of productions at London theaters were included as an essential element of this course.


Modernist London: Literature and the Arts (BRST 171c) (pdf; 72 kb)
Professor Pericles Lewis
Department of English, Yale University

Society and Culture in London from Stow to Hogarth c. 1560–1760 (BRST 173c) (pdf; 220 kb)
Professor Keith Wrightson
Department of History, Yale University

Americans Abroad (BRST 175b) (pdf; 44 kb)
Professor Susan Chambers
Department of English, Yale University

The London Stage (BRST 176b) (pdf; 64 kb)
Professor Susan Chambers
Department of English, Yale University

British Art and Landscape (BRST 177b)
Martin Postle, Deputy Director for Collections & Publications
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

London Theatre: The Contemporary Scene (BRST 180) (pdf; 118 kb)
Professor Paul Walsh
School of Drama, Yale University

Chaucer and Medieval London (BRST 198)
Ardis Butterfield
Professor of English, Yale University

Medieval Biography (BRST 199)
Ardis Butterfield
Professor of English, Yale University

Politics and Society in Great Britain, 1688–1832 (BRST 322b) (pdf; 35 kb)
Dr. Leslie Mitchell
University College, Oxford (retired)

Modern British Drama (BRST 478b)
Dr. Sheila Fox
Freelance critic and BBC Producer

William Morris: The Theory and Practice of Craft (BRST 497c) (pdf; 144 kb)
Professor Edward Cooke Jr.
Department of the History of Art, Yale University