The Romantic Period in Britain
The Romantic Period in Britain 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
The Romantic Period (c. 1785 -1832) was marked by social change, political strife and a growth in print culture. In many ways it was the start of the modern age, as Britain sought to define itself both internally and within a global context. This course introduces students to both canonical and non-canonical texts of the period and the ways in which they both shaped and reflected wider social and cultural concerns. It will guide students through key areas of current scholarship of the period so that they may refine their understanding of the relationship between texts and their contexts. In order to question what the term ‘Romanticism’ may entail, this course focuses not only on certain authors and texts from this period but also key Romantic themes including nature, the French Revolution, slavery, gender, and childhood.
Week 1: Introducing Romanticism
Reading: David Higgins, ‘The Romantic Period’, from Ashley Chantler (ed.), Studying English Literature (London: Continuum, 2010), 113-133; Charlotte Smith, ‘Sonnet XLIV, Written in the Church Yard at Middleton in Sussex’ (1789) [both available on Blackboard]
Week 2: The French Revolution
Reading: Richard Price, extracts from ‘A Discourse on the Love of Our Country’ (1789), pp. 4-6; Edmund Burke, extracts from Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), pp. 11-17; William Wordsworth, extracts from Book IX of The Prelude (1804-6), pp. 570-5; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘France: An Ode’ (1798), pp. 650-3.
Week 3: William Godwin, Caleb Williams
Reading: William Godwin, Caleb Williams (1794)
Week 4: Ecology and Landscape
Reading: William Wordsworth, ‘Expostulation and Reply’ (1798), pp. 409-410, ‘The Tables Turned’ (1798), pp. 410-11; Percy Shelley, ‘Mont Blanc’ (1817), pp. 1104-7, John Clare, ‘The Mores’ (c. 1821), ‘Lament of Swordy Well’ (1821-4); extract from Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1796) [Clare and Wollstonecraft available on Blackboard]
Week 5: Slavery
Reading: William Cowper, ‘Sweet Meat has Sour Sauce, or The Slave-Trader in the Dumps’ (1788), pp. 23-4; Hannah More, ‘Slavery: A Poem’ (1788), pp. 69-76; Robert Southey, ‘The Sailor who had Served in the Slave-Trade’ (1799), pp. 753-6; Phillis Wheatley, ‘On Being Brought from Africa to America’ (1773); Olaudah Equiano, extracts from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African (1789) [Wheatley and Equiano available on Blackboard]
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Gender
Reading: Mary Wollstonecraft, extracts from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), pp.284-290; Anna Laetitia Barbauld, ‘The Rights of Woman’ (1795), pp. 44-5; Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: Canto the Third (1816), pp. 878-912; Keats, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ (1819), pp. 1460-1; Felicia Hemans, ‘Casabianca’ (1826) [available on Blackboard]
Week 8: Childhood
Reading: William Wordsworth, ‘We are Seven’ (1798), pp. 380-2, ‘There was a boy’ (1800) pp.484-5; ‘Nutting’ (1800), pp. 485-6; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Frost at Midnight (1834 text), pp.645-9
Week 9: Orientalism
Reading: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere’ (1798), pp. 339-357 ‘Kubla Khan’ (1816 text), pp. 639-643; Percy Shelley, ‘Ozymandias’ (1817), p. 1108; Felicia Hemans, ‘The Indian City’ (1828), pp. 1329-1334; John Keats, ‘Ode on Indolence’ (1819), pp. 1470-1.
Week 10: England in 1819: The Peterloo Massacre
Reading: Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy (1819), pp. 1120-1131, ‘Ode to the West Wind’ (1819), pp.1131-4, ‘England in 1819’ (1819), p. 1134; John Keats, ‘To Autumn’ (1819), p. 1489.
Week 11: Jane Austen, Persuasion
Reading: Jane Austen, Persuasion (1817)
Week 12: After Romanticism
Reading: Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, A Poem (1811), pp. 46-55; Lord Byron, ‘Darkness’ (1816), pp. 919-21
-threshold -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
-good -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 gapsTypically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities:
•Discusses ideas, but without much confidence
•A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there
•Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned
•Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole
•Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question
•Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily
•Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class
•In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium
•Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times
-excellent -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
- A critical understanding of texts from the Romantic period;
- Developed skills in research, analysis and in the expression of an argument in written form.
- Knowledge of some of the period’s key cultural issues
- Knowledge of the relationship between literary texts and their historical contexts;
Close Reading Exercise Students will be given a choice of short poems and guidance in order to develop a close reading paying particular attention to language and form.
Final Essay Students will receive a list of pre-circulated prompts/questions and write an essay based on one of these