Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Romantic Eroticism
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2hr seminars
Practical 10 x 2hr workshops or viewings


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 Hours   ESSAY 1: 3000 WORDS  50%
Semester Assessment 2 Hours   ESSAY 1: 3000 WORDS  50%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMIT FAILED ELEMENTS  Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Analyse and evaluate a range of Romantic texts and images in their historical and social context

2. Discuss political, legal and aesthetic issues associated with transgressive writing and visual culture in the Romantic period

3. Apply critical, theoretical and analytical skills to texts and images on this module

Brief description

This module examines erotic texts and images in the Romantic period. Placing these transgressive works in their contemporary late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century contexts, as well as considering them from the perspective of modern theories of gender, sexuality and identity, Romantic Eroticism addresses the following questions: How does Romanticism construct the `obscene'? What is the political resonance of terms such as 'vulgar' or 'depraved' in literary reviews at this juncture? What is the relationship between the erotic, medical discourse and political satire? To what extent can 'obscene' art be considered an attack on elite culture? What is the literary value of Romantic bawdy? How do these works stand in relation to private and public spheres? How is 'pleasure' constituted by Romantic texts? To what extent can Romantic state surveillance be considered part of the discourse of the political erotic? We will also consider contemporary films, novels and art to ask how our own age draws on and process the politics of Romantic eroticism.


1. To assess and evaluate an important tradition of writing in the Romantic period.
2. To discuss how significant Romantic challenges to established power were conducted through canonical and non-canonical erotic publications.
3. To build on analytical and theoretical skills developed in Core modules


1. Introduction
Seminar: Module overview
Workshop: Theoretical approaches

2. 'Political Ravishment': Pornography and Romantic Satire
Seminar: Theories of art and obscenity
Workshop: Text and theme
Texts: Prints and sketches by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake and Henry Fuseli.

3. Women and Erotic Drama: The Chapter of Accidents
Seminar: The Romantic stage
Workshop: Text and theme
Texts: Sophia Lee, The Chapter of Accidents (1780)

4. Merry Muses: Romanticism's Banned Books
Seminar: Text and theme
Workshop: Romantic legacies
Texts: selections from Robert Burns, The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799)

5. 'A Sight to dream of, not to tell': Obscenity and Christabel
Seminar: Text and theme
Viewing: Film showing of Julien Temple's Pandaemonium (2000)
Texts: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'Christabel' (1816); William Hazlitt, review of 'Christabel', Examiner (1816).

6. 'Depraved morality . . . and indecency': The Story of Rimini
Seminar: Text and theme
Viewing: Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park (1999)
Texts: Jan Austen, Mansfield Park.

7. 'O blush not so!': Keats and Bawdy
Seminar: Text and theme
Viewing: Jane Campion's Bright Star (2009)
Texts: 'Isabella', 'The Eve of St Agnes', 'Lamia', 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', 'O blush not so!', 'Unfelt, unheard, unseen', 'Upon my life, Sir Nevis, I am piqued'; extracts from Keats's Letters; extracts from reviews of Keats.

8. 'Droop not': Don Juan and Romantic Masculinities
Seminar: Text and theme
Viewing: Ken Russell's Gothic (1986)
Texts: Lord Byron, Don Juan (1819-24); extracts from Byron's Letters; extracts from contemporary 19th-century reviews.

9. 'Drive me to distraction': Liber Amoris and the Politics of Obsession
Seminar: Text and theme
Workshop: Anne Haverty, The Far Side of a Kiss (2000)
Texts: Hazlitt, Liber Amoris (1823); extracts from Hazlitt's Letters; extracts from contemporary 19th-century reviews; Ann Haverty, The Far Side of A Kiss (2000)

10. Conclusion
Seminar: Module reflection
Workshop: Romantic legacies, Romantic inheritors


This module is at CQFW Level 6