BA English Language and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Romanticism (1790-1860)

Unit code ENGL21521
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

In this course, we'll read a range of literature by men and women writers from the British Romantic period and into the Victorian period (c1790-1860) – an age that was politically, socially and aesthetically on the move. Literary texts by William Blake, Lord Byron, Mary Prince, Jane Austen, Felicia Hemans, Percy Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning will be studied in relation to the American and French Revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars, industrialisation and urbanisation, social uprisings and political oppression. Lectures and seminars will focus on such themes as gender, the imagination, nationhood, national identity and internationalism, class, nature, revolution (political, social and literary), sexuality and sexual transgression.

 

Aims

  • to introduce students to a number of key texts and authors from the Romantic Period;
  • to introduce students to the historical events and trends that powerfully influenced those writers, and to the ways in which Romantic-period literature responds to these contemporary events;
  • to introduce students to the central political, philosophical, ideological and aesthetic concerns of Romantic-period literature;
  • to help students to appreciate, and understand, Romanticism’s creation of new, and development of old, literary forms in search of new ways of deploying literature as a response to, and engagement with, the period’s concerns and conflicts;
  • to enable students to examine, analyse and critically engage with Romantic-period texts with confidence, accuracy and sophistication;
  • to introduce students to the most important critical debates that have surrounded the literature of the Romantic-period in general, as well as individual Romantic-period texts and authors in particular, and to enable students to critically engage with these debates.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a number of key texts and authors from the Romantic Period;
  • show a knowledge and understanding of the historical events and trends that influenced these texts and writers, and of the ways in which Romantic-period writers responded to contemporary events;
  • evidence an understanding of the ways in which Romanticism created, adapted and deployed a range of literary forms to suit the concerns and conflicts of its period and its culture;
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the central political, philosophical, ideological and aesthetic concerns of Romantic-period literature.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • offer sophisticated readings of individual Romantic-period texts, and persuasive interpretations of the period’s literature more generally;
  • appreciate, and understand, Romanticism’s creation of new, and development of old, literary forms;
  • demonstrate a capacity to examine, analyse and intellectually engage with Romantic-period texts with confidence, accuracy and sophistication;
  • evidence a knowledge of, and an ability to critically engage with, some of the most important critical debates that have surrounded the literature of the Romantic-period in general, and individual Romantic-period texts and authors in particular.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • understand, interpret and contextualise a range of Romantic-period texts and writers;
  • construct coherent and persuasive arguments, both orally and on paper, about individual Romantic-period texts and Romantic-period literature more generally;
  • negotiate, understand and critically engage with a number of critical debates about Romantic-period literature;
  • conduct effective contextual research into the history, writers and literature of the Romantic period.

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  •  work both independently and with others towards a greater understanding of unfamiliar written materials;
  • read, analyse and discuss written texts with knowledge, insight and confidence;
  • conduct effective independent research;
  • analyse, process and present complex ideas in coherent and persuasive ways, both orally and on paper;
  • offer original, sustained interpretations of historical and literary materials in an ordered, lucid and focused way;
  • effectively adapt and utilise a body of knowledge in response to specific tasks and requirements;
  • demonstrate good oral and written communication skills;
  • demonstrate good time-management skills.

Employability skills

Other
By the end of this course students will be able to: synthesise and evaluate complex arguments present information in a lucid and engaging manner work effectively as a member of a group organise time effectively in pursuit of specific goals

Assessment methods

Close reading exercise 40%
Essay 60%

 

Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on essays and exams
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Please contact the course unit director to confirm specific texts for next year.
 

poetry from: William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, Dorothy Wordsworth

Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Lord Byron, Manfred

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

Charles Dickens, Hard Times

 

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 200

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Sanders Unit coordinator

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