Children in Victorian Literature


The Victorian Period witnessed an explosion in children’s literature. It was also a time when the very ideas of the child and childhood were being transformed. Join us to find out how this is reflected in the children who inhabit Victorian literature.

During the day, we will relate the literary works to different aspects of Victorian thought, and consider how Victorian children continue to speak to us today. Among the writers covered will be Kipling, Dickens, and the Brontës.

Programme details

9.45am: Registration

10.00am: A matter of life and death – Victorian childhoods, and what we can learn from them today, Dr Franziska Kohlt

11.15am: Coffee/tea

11.45am: Dancing with Mowgli – the wolf-boy and his animal companions, Dr Kaori Nagai

1.00pm: Lunch

2.00pm: Dickens and childhood, Dr David Grylls

3.15pm: Coffee/tea

3.45pm: Little angels and little devils: Victorian children and the Brontë imagination, Ms Sara Zadrozny

5.00pm: Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance £80.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £80.00
Baguette Lunch £5.50
Hot Lunch £15.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Ms Sara Zadrozny


Sara is a tutor for Oxford School of Continuing Education, teaching courses on Victorian Literature, critical theory and children’s literature. Currently, she is completing doctoral research on women’s ageing in Victorian Literature and culture at the University of Portsmouth. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy.

Dr David Grylls


Dr David Grylls was Director of Studies in English Literature and Creative Writing at OUDCE for many years, and is an Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. He is a specialist in nineteenth-century fiction and has published a number of books and articles, including Guardians and Angels: Parents and Children in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Faber, 1978), The Paradox of Gissing (Harper Collins,1986), What the Dickens: A Guide to Martin Chuzzlewit and Hard Times (BBC Education, 1994), and ‘Gissing and Prostitution’ in George Gissing and the Woman Question (Routledge, 2013).

Dr Kaori Nagai


Dr Kaori Nagai is a lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Kent. She has edited, and writen the introduction and notes to, the Penguin Classics editions of Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills (2010) and The Jungle Books (2014). She is the author of Empire of Analogies: Kipling, India and Ireland (2006), and co-editor of Kipling and Beyond: Patriotism, Globalisation and Postcolonialism (2010), and Cosmopolitan Animals (2015; chief editor). She recently organised a conference called ‘Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea’ at the National Maritime Museum (April 2019), Greenwich, and her latest book, Imperial Beast Fables: Animals, Cosmopolitanism and the British Empire, is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr Franziska Kohlt


Dr Franziska Kohlt is a Research Associate at the University of York’s Department of Sociology. She completed her DPhil in English Literature and the History of Science at Brasenose College, Oxford, and her thesis investigated the emergence of both fields as sister phenomena. Franziska’s work focuses on science communication, especially on the interactions between evolutionary psychology and built and natural environments. She also holds degrees in communication & media science, and has appeared on international radio and television, and at literary festivals. She has curated award-winning exhibitions on Insects, together with the Royal Entomological Society, and on Automata at Compton Verney, and presented at events exploring the literature of AI and Humour, together with the makers of Have I Got News for You. Franziska is also the Editor of the Lewis Carroll Review, and Reviews Editor of the British Society for Literature and Science, and when she isn’t engaged in academic work sings in several choral ensembles and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

You can opt to attend this hybrid teaching event either online (via a livestream) or in person at Rewley House, Oxford. You will be given the option of how you wish to attend during the enrolment process. You can only pick one option. If your preferred attendance format is fully booked, you can email us to be put on the waiting list.

For those joining us online

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Teams interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.