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By Tess Maginess


Professor Tess Maginess,  BA, MA, PhD, PFHEA,  is the director of the Open Learning Programme at Queen's. Her field is literature. She has worked in adult education for over 20 years and has published books and articles on innovative education, literature and culture. She lives on the Tyrone-Armagh border, on the farm where she was born.

Course Aims and Learning Outcomes

Summary of content and form

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped is one of the most famous historical novels written. Many of you may have read it as children. But don’t worry if you have not. The class aims to be very accessible and enjoyable. The format of this class here will be a Powerpoint presentation with lots of links to related sites and also an accompanying lecture script.

In this class we will cover the following aspects of the novel:

  • A little bit about Stevenson’s life
  • The historical situation the novel deals with – a very turbulent time in Scotland
  • Some links to film adaptations of the novel
  • What kind of plot does the novel have?
  • What kind of characters does Stevenson create?
  • What is the point of view?
  • What styles and different kinds of language does Stevenson use. We will talk here a bit about dialect and I am sure you will recognise many of the words, like ‘thole’ and ‘whist'.

Learning outcomes

  • You will gain some information about the historical situation in Scotland in the eighteenth century
  • You will gain an insight into various features of a novel – plot, characterisation, point of view and language/style
  • You will gain an insight into the craft of novel writing

View the Literature Videos

This class comprises a Powerpoint presentation with video and a lecture script. The Presentation is divided into six sections:

  • Section 1: Introduction to the class (summary of what will be covered and learning outcomes)
  • Section 2: Biography
  • Section 3: Historical context
  • Section 4: Editions of Kidnapped
  • Section 5: Plot,character and point of view
  • Section 6: Language and style

At the end of Section 6, there are some reflective questions. After viewing the Powerpoint, you can go on to the lecture script which will give you more detail.

Section 1

Section 1: Introduction to the class. A summary of what will be covered and the learning outcomes.

Read the Kidnapped lecture script

Section 2


Section 3

Historical Context

Section 4

Editions of Kidnapped

Section 5

Plot, Character and Point of View

Section 6

Language and Style