Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. 10 x 2-hour seminar workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 2,500 WORD ESSAYS  Continuous Assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays  100%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMIT FAILED ELEMENTS  Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should typically be able to:

1. locate and discuss issues relating to gender in their cultural and historical context;

2. demonstrate an ability to write about literary texts in the light of recent critical debates;

3. construct focused and well-structured arguments;

4. engage in coherent oral discussion of the material studied.

Brief description

This module will explore the writings of the Romantic period in relation to the changing social history of the time, concentrating in particular on issues of gender. During the years which bridged the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries social attitudes and behaviour with regard to gender were in a state of flux, in transience from the emergent feminism of late eighteenth-century radicalism to the rigid polarization of gender roles characteristic of the Victorian epoch. In this option we will be looking at the works of both male and female writers of the period to examine the manner in which such changes found expression in literary texts.


The module will be taught by means of weekly two-hour seminars.

_Seminar 1: Introductiory Session

  • General discussion of module and basic issues raised by the study of literature of the Romantic period.
_PART A: Gender and Social Change (2 seminars)

_Seminar 2: A Woman Alone

  • Text: Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark
_Seminar 3: Free Love?

  • Texts: William Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of the Rights of Woman (included with the Penguin edition of Mary Wollstonecraft, A Short Residence: see below, Reading Lists); Mary Hays, The Memoirs of Emma Courtney
_PART B: Feminine Genres and their Detractors (4 seminars)

_Seminar 4: Sensibility and the Fictionalization of Feminism

  • Texts: Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary and Maria (in Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary and Maria; and Mary Shelley, Mathilda)
_Seminar 5: Anti-Sensibility

  • Text: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
_Seminar 6: Women and the Gothic

  • Text: Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest
_Seminar 7: Mocking the Gothic

  • Text: Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey
_PART C: Male Romanticism (3 seminars)

_Seminar 8: Recasting Masculinity

  • Texts: Byron, 'Don Juan', or some other poem; Coleridge, `Christabel', `Fears in Solitude', 'This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison', 'To William Wordsworth' and extracts from the Notebooks.
_Seminar 9: Negative Capabilities

  • Texts: John Keats: `Ode to Psyche', `Ode on Melancholy', `Ode on Indolence', `Lamia' and `La Belle Dame Sans Merci'; extracts (provided) from the Letters; Shelley, `Adonais'.
_Seminar 10: Masculinity Unbound?

  • Texts: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; and Matilda (in Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary and Maria; Mary Shelley, Mathilda)
See below for editions of the primary texts.


This module is at CQFW Level 6