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Romantic Conversations 1785-1845 - ENG00128I

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Mary Fairclough
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The solitary wanderer was for a long time seen as quintessential figure of Romantic poetry, but this module will investigate the sociable interactions of Romantic verse, through a focus on conversation and encounter in the poetry of Romantic writers. We will investigate the ways in which Romantic poetry stages encounters between the speakers of lyric verse and the social, literary, and natural world, and the different expressions of intersubjectivity that these poems produce. The lectures and workshops on this module will explore how Romantic poets address verse to their poetic contemporaries, to elements of the natural world such as birds, rivers and the moon, and to loved ones and strangers.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module aims to introduce you to the broad range of conversational poetry produced in the Romantic period, and to investigate the ways in which poetic conversations enabled Romantic poets to explore ideas of intersubjectivity, in particular their relationship with the natural world, with their poetic contemporaries and with other people, whether loved ones, friends, or strangers.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of and engagement with a wide range of Romantic lyric poetry.
  2. Engage with comparative and interdisciplinary approaches, relevant critical vocabulary and contexts, including ideas of conversation, intersubjectivity and sociability.
  3. Successfully manage a collaborative project, making use of digital tools where appropriate.
  4. Deliver a presentation, demonstrating appropriate oral, written, performance, and/or digital skills.


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Team Presentation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay: 1500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Team feedback given within 20 days

Indicative reading

Key texts may include:

  • Talking to other poets: William Wordsworth ‘On Seeing Miss Williams Cry at a Tale of Distress’; Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘To William Wordsworth’; Anna Laetitia Barbauld ‘To Mr S. T. Coleridge’; Mary Robinson ‘Mrs Robinson to the Poet Coleridge’; John Keats ‘To Leigh Hunt Esq.’; Leigh Hunt ‘To John Keats’; Percy Bysshe Shelley ‘Adonais’
  • Talking to birds: Charlotte Smith ‘Sonnet III To a Nightingale’, ‘Sonnet VII On the Departure of the Nightingale’, ‘Sonnet LV Return of the Nightingale’; Coleridge ‘The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem’; Keats ‘Ode to a Nightingale’; Shelley, ‘To a Skylark’; John Clare ‘To the Snipe’, ‘The Nightingale’s Nest’?
  • Talking to the poor: Robert Burns, ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That’; Wordsworth Lyrical Ballads (‘Simon Lee’, ‘Old Man Travelling’, ‘We Are Seven’, ‘The Idiot Boy’); Barbauld ‘To the Poor’, Shelley ‘The Masque of Anarchy’; Clare, ‘I am!’ William Blake ‘Holy Thursday’
  • Love poems: Wordsworth ‘Perfect Woman’, ‘To M. H.’; Shelley ‘To Jane: The Invitation’, ‘To Jane: The Recollection’, ‘To Jane’; Lord Byron, ‘She Walks in Beauty’, ‘When we two parted’, ‘Epistle to Augusta’; Keats, ‘Bright Star’, ‘To Fanny (I cry your mercy—pity—love!)’; Letitia Elizabeth Landon ‘Six Songs of Love, Constancy, Romance, Inconstancy, Truth, and Marriage’

Alternative sessions, to be taught in future iterations:

Poems to the moon, to rivers, to mountains

Epistolary poems

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.