Module Identifier EN30730  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Patricia Duncker  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Christoph Lindner, Dr Damian Walford Davies, Professor Lyn Pykett  
Pre-Requisite EN10120 , EN10320  
Course delivery Lecture   30 Hours  
  Seminar   10 Hours  
Assessment Essay   1 x 2,500 word essay   25%  
  Exam   3 Hours   75%  
  Resit assessment   Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.    

Brief description

This module on Romantic and Victorian literature does not attempt to survey the whole of the extraordinary output of this the first information age, but instead seeks to introduce students to some of the range and diversity of writing in Britain from the period of the French revolution through to the fin de siecle. The lecture and seminar programme will situate this dynamic body of writing in the various contexts of its production: political radicalism, electoral reform, industrialization, consumerism, urbanization, imperial expansion, and the changing role of women in society.

Texts and Topics

1. Romanticism and Romantic poetry: Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads; Keats, the Odes, 'Eve of St Agnes', 'Isabella'; a selection of Romantic poetry by women writers.
2. Romantic autobiography: Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
3. The continued rise of the woman novelist: Jane Austen, Persuasion
4. Victorian poetry: Tennyson, Maud; the dramatic monologue; poetry by women
5. Victorian fiction: Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
6. Fiction at the fin de siecle: the rise of the short story

Lectures and seminars

Lectures: This module will have three lectures per week. Some lectures in each of the six blocks outlined above will focus on the key texts, others will use the key texts as the focus for the consideration of broader contextual issues. Weekly seminars: will focus on the key texts


1. One x 2, 500 word essay during the module (see Departmental essay deadline information)
A list of essay topics relating to the first half of the module will be circulated at the beginning of the semester. The essay will contribute 25% of the module mark.
2. A three-hour unseen examination at the end of the module. Students are required to answer two questions, choosing one from each section of the paper. Section one will consist of questions on the texts and topics taught in the second half of the module. Section two will consist of general questions on nineteenth-century literature, and will require you to answer on more than one text. The examination will contribute 75% of the module mark.

Key Texts

Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, Keats, the Odes, 'Eve of St Agnes', 'Isabella', a selection of Romantic poetry by women writers. All available in M H Abrams, Stephen Greenblatt et al (eds.), The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2 (2000); Jane Austen, Persuasion; Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Tennyson, Maud (in the Penguin or World's classics edition of Tennyson's poems)
Other Victorian poetry studied will be taken from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2.
Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son Harold Orel, (ed.) Victorian Short Stories 2 (Dent,1990)

Aims and objectives

to introduce students to a range of poetry, fiction and non-fictional prose from the period of the French Revolution to the Fin de Siecle;
to locate this writing in the literary, socio-historical and cultural contexts in which it was produced and read;
to encourage students to reflect critically on the texts chosen for special study;
to encourage students to explore the relations between literary texts and between texts and their contexts;
to encourage students to familiarize themselves with recent critical debates about nineteenth-century literature.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of texts drawn from the period 1789-1900;
articulate this knowledge in the form of a reasoned critical analysis of particular texts;
locate the texts studied in appropriate literary, historical, and/or cultural contexts;
explain and engage with relevant aspects of recent scholarly and/or critical debates about the texts studied.