Module QXE-3051:
19thC British Writers in Italy

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Maureen McCue

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To read, analyse and critically assess a number of imaginative and non-fiction texts by British and American writers which are concerned with the culture, landscape, history and art of Italy.

  2. To discover the ways in which national identities are explored and articulated through a juxtaposition with or a consumption of the ‘other’ or ‘others’.

  3. To examine the ways in which various genres informed and shaped each other over the course of the long nineteenth century.

  4. To utilize contemporary scholarship in a number of disciplines in order to examine the ways in which literature shapes culture and influences social dynamics.

Course content

This course explores the dynamic place Italy – its literature, art, landscape and culture – held for nineteenth-century British writers. Through reading a variety of texts, including poetry, novels, travel writing/guides and art criticism, we will examine the ways in which writers commented on a number of identities, at individual, national and international levels. Students will be encouraged to draw on source material from a number of disciplines, in order to understand the complex dialectical relationships between cultures, particularly the intersection between literature and various visual and plastic arts. Of central importance will be the concepts of the ‘other’ and of ‘cultural capital’, both of which will be supported by current scholarship on post-Waterloo tourism to Italy and publishing practices in the long nineteenth century. Emphasis will be placed on Romantic authors, including Byron, the Shelleys and Jameson, though may also include their Victorian counterparts such as the Brownings and George Eliot.

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:

• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production

Learning outcomes

  1. Appreciate, analyse and interpret a range of long-nineteenth century texts.

  2. Engage with contemporary nineteenth-century scholarship across the disciplines, and use the knowledge gained to thoughtfully respond, both verbally and in writing, to the texts and ideas about culture, identity and literary form.

  3. Appreciate how literary texts respond to each other and how they shape/are shaped by the social, cultural, political and artistic concerns they examine.

  4. Select, digest and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in essay form, to a deadline.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay One 50
Essay Two 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

  1. One two-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks
  2. One one-hour study group per week for 11 weeks

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: