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Romantic Texts & Contexts - ENG00033M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jon Mee
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

‘Few Engines can be more powerful, and at the same time more salutary in their tendency, than literature’, observed the philosopher William Godwin in 1793; and his Tory opponent, T.J. Mathias, agreed with him on this point, arguing in 1797 that ‘LITERATURE, well or ill conducted, IS THE GREAT ENGINE by which, I am fully persuaded, ALL CIVILIZED STATES must ultimately be supported or overthrown.’ In the period 1776-1832 literature was seen as the site for these new imagined world orders; it was the realm in which imagination, politics, and philosophy could converge.

This module is team-taught by scholars who specialise in the period: through our seminars we will explore some of the literary conversations, debates, hopes and disappointments which were produced by this age of revolution and innovation. Key critical reading is recommended each week to help you gain a sense of current critical thinking on core writers and themes. Students will be encouraged to read closely and think reflectively, developing their own critique of individual texts and gaining an awareness of the politics of language and genre. The module will provide an essential methodological background to the MA in Literature of the Romantic Period, enabling students to interrogate terms such as ‘Romantic’, but also offer an intellectually exciting and diverse encounter with a range of writers across many genres.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

·This module aims to introduce you to some key voices and themes from the Romantic period.  You will also be introduced to the key research and learning skills necessary for MA study and a variety of methodologies for interpreting Romantic Literature.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with a broad range of texts in Romantic Literature and be familiar with a range of genres and texts beyond usual undergraduate levels
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with current critical issues bearing upon the interpretation of literary texts in the period and be able to respond to these issues within their own work
  • Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields.
  • Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.  You should also be fully aware of the range of resources available locally, within and beyond the University, and be confident in using them



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will hand in an essay of approximately 2,000 words in Week 6 of the Autumn term for the Postgraduate Life in Practice module. The main purpose of the essay is to ensure that the department can identify those students who may require additional assistance with academic writing skills.  Material from this essay may be re-visited in either one of the January essays or the dissertation. It is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. The title topic of the essay, like the title topic of all assessed work for the degree, is left open to the individual student.


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your module tutor, the MA Convenor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours  

Indicative reading

Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries (Oxford, 1981)

Stuart Curran, ed., The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism (Cambridge, 1993)

Nicholas Roe, Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (Oxford, 2005)

Iain McCalman, ed., An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age (Oxford, 1999)

Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (Yale, 1992)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.