Module Information

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

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Portfolio  Portfolio of critical or creative writing with critical commentary 4000 Words  100%
Supplementary Assessment Portfolio  Portfolio of critical or creative writing with critical commentary 4000 Words  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

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

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

Apply critical and where appropriate creative skills, along with theoretical and analytical skills, to texts and images on this module.

Brief description

This module examines erotic texts and images from 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, surveillance and identity, Romantic Eroticism addresses the following questions: How does Romanticism construct the 'obscene'? What is the political resonance of terms such as 'vulgar' and 'depraved' in literary reviews at this juncture? What is the relationship between erotic, medical, legal and political discourse? 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? How does state surveillance station itself in terms of a political erotic? Finally, we will ask how our own age draws on, and continues to process, the politics, categories and subjectivities of Romantic eroticism.


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


1. Introduction
Module overview and theoretical framing.

2. Pornography and Romantic Satire
Texts: Prints and sketches by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake and Henry Fuseli.

3. Women and Erotic Drama
Text: Sophia Lee, The Chapter of Accidents (1780). (play)

4. Romanticism's Banned Books
Text: Robert Burns, selections from The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799). (short poems)

5. Romantic Obscenities
Text: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'Christabel' (1816). (poem)

6. Romantic Bawdy
Texts: John Keats, selections including 'Isabella', 'Lamia', 'La Belle Dame sans Merci', 'The Eve of St Agnes' (1819). (poems)

7. Desire, Race and Power
Text: Charlotte Dacre, Zofloya (1806). (novel)

8. Romantic Masculinities
Text: George Gordon Byron, Don Juan (1819-24), Cantos V-VI. (poetry)

9. Literature and Transgression
Text: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814). (novel)

10. Module reflection
Romantic legacies, Romantic inheritors. (prints and short poems)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Communication in the form of essays. Oral presentations in small groups. Oral communication in semesters.
Improving own Learning and Performance Developing own research skills. Time management.
Information Technology Use of electronic resources and e-learning technologies (electronic databases and blackboard learn). Power point for group presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection. Development of transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving Formulating and developing extended arguments
Research skills Formulating and developing an argument
Subject Specific Skills Ability to compare and contrast texts; ability to comment on the relationship between society and literary forms.
Team work Through group presentations in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6