MA in Literature of the Romantic Period, 1775-1832

Convenor: Mary Fairclough



The Romantic movement has traditionally been seen to dominate the aesthetic and literary output of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but recent critical and historical scholarship has emphasized the range and diversity of contemporary literary forms and styles of writing which cannot comfortably be treated as though they were part of that movement.

By examining the selected literary and aesthetic works in the light of the historical circumstances in which they were produced, the MA offers participants the chance to develop a broad view of the major changes in sensibility and ideology of the period, and to investigate such contemporary issues as:

  • the representation of landscape or revolution
  • the place of women as writers
  • the role of the periodicals as a cultural medium and the importance of ideas of Empire and the Orient
  • Romantic aesthetic theory and poetic practice

By setting Romantic and Sentimental writings alongside each other, this MA offers students an opportunity to find their own paths through the literary and cultural history of the period.

You will develop an understanding of:

  • the engagement of sentimental and Romantic writing with a range of political, social and aesthetic issues in the period
  • the cultural meanings and associations of the variety of styles and genres in which sentimental and Romantic writing was produced
  • a range of different critical perspectives about Romantic literature


  • Four assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each
  • A 14,000-16,000 word dissertation, written in consultation with a supervisor on an agreed topic



The programme is fully modularised and divided into 4 taught modules (one compulsory, three option), a research skills training programme, and a research dissertation.

Click here for all 2017/18 modules

Core Course


Available option modules may include:

Further options can be chosen from a rich array offered by the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, including interdisciplinary options.

Option modules will vary from year to year according to staff availability, and will run subject to minimum numbers. Option modules may also be taken in other arts and humanities departments.

Socrates students

Information for prospective Socrates students

The Department has established a postgraduate ERASMUS exchange with the literature departments of the University of Paris and the University of Bologna. Students selected by these departments from Paris and Bologna should apply to the University of York for acceptance on to the MA in Romantic and Sentimental Literature.

Please mark all applications Visiting Graduate Programme (ERASMUS). The host department in this case is the Department of English and Related Literature.

Initial enquiries should be directed to Emma Major (

Harewood House, North Front (1788), by Thomas Malton Jr

Who to contact

For more information on this MA, please contact:

Mary Fairclough

‌How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.