Module Identifier ENM6720  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Richard J Marggraf-Turley  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Damian Walford Davies  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   5 X 2hr seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 5,000-WORD ESSAY  100%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMIT FAILED ELEMENTS  100%

Learning outcomes

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

1. display a sophisticated critical understanding of the texts under consideration

2. situate the module's texts in their cultural, political and historical contexts

3. demonstrate an awareness of wider cultural and theoretical issues raised by the module

4. produce organised, coherently structured and critically engaged written work


To introduce students to a range of different writing by Romantic writers, both canonical and non-canonical; to develop an understanding of the ways in which political communities of Romantic writers emerged and organized themselves; to develop a theoretically informed reading of Romantic texts.

Brief description

This module seeks to acquaint students with a range of political contexts and co-texts to second-generation Romantic writings. In doing so, it explores a number of different, and differently illuminating, theoretical perspectives. The seminar programme investigates how writers allude to - and/or seek to elude - their turbulent times, examining the web-like structures of allegiance and shared purpose connecting politically motivated authors, including John Keats, Leigh Hunt, Percy Shelley, Charles Cowden Clarke, 'Barry Cornwall', and William Hazlitt. Individual sessions address the politics of language and taste in the Romantic period, and also explore different versions of Romantic masculinity.


1. Peterloo & close bosom-friends: Romanticism, history, historicism
In August 1819, workers and protesters were massacred by troops at a political rally on St Peter's Field, Manchester (the `Battle of Peterloo'). In this test-case of New Historicism, we investigate a post-Peterloo dialogue involving Keats, Cornwall and Percy Shelley. We also look at how the event was represented in newspaper reports and political cartoons.

Texts: Keats, `To Autumn'; Cornwall, `Spring', `Autumn'; Shelley, `Ode to the West Wind', `The Mask of Anarchy'; eyewitness accounts of Peterloo; Barry Cornwall, sonnets (`Spring', `Autumn'); extracts from Thomas Paine, Rights of Man.

2. Coterie & camaraderie: `Cockney' cultures of dissent
This seminar addresses the importance of coterie in the production of Romantic writing. Attention is focused on the ways in which members of the radical editor (and `King of Cockneys') Leigh Hunt's literary circle collaborated on and promoted each other's work.

Texts: Hunt, `Young Poets', `To John Keats'; Keats, `To Leigh Hunt, Esq.', `On Hunt's Story of Rimini', `Written on the Day that Mr Leigh Hunt left Prison', `On Seeing the Elgin Marbles', Endymion, extracts from Keats's Letters; Shelley, `Ozymandias'; contemporary reviews of Romantic poetry.

3. Speaking loud & bold: The politics of language
In this session, we examine how, for Hunt and his circle, social reform began with a reform of poetic language. For writers like Hunt and Keats, to attack, say, Pope (and thus Johnsonian language), was to do more than simply register a preference in taste; it was to challenge the linguistic basis of a whole series of cultural institutions.

Texts: Hunt, The Story of Rimini; Keats, `On First Looking into Chapman's Homer', `La Belle Dame Sans Merci', `Specimen of an Induction to a Poem'; Shelley, A Defence of Poetry; Wordsworth, Preface & Appendix to Lyrical Ballads, `Simon Lee', `The Brothers?; reviews of Romantic poetry.

4. Pixies & Pegasus: The politics of taste
The fourth session begins by examining Byron's vituperative attack on Romantic taste, then focuses on the `Cockney School of Poetry' controversy fought between conservative Edinburgh reviewers and members of Leigh Hunt's radical `Cockney' circle.

Texts: Byron, English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers: A Satire (1810), extracts from Byron's unexpurgated letters (supplied), Keats, Sleep and Poetry, extracts from Hunt's essays (supplied), reviews of Romantic works (supplied), reviews by romantic writers (supplied).

5. Slippery blisses & boxers: Romantic masculinities
This seminar explores Romantic representations of, and attitudes towards, masculinity. In addition to literary texts, we study paintings, portraits and caricatures of Romantic figures.

Texts: Byron, Don Juan (Cantos 5-6); Hazlitt, `The Fight'; Hunt, The Story of Rimini; Keats, Lamia, `La Belle Dame Sans Merci', `A Song about Myself', The Eve of St Agnes.

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
John Barnard (ed) (1991) John Keats: Complete Poems Harmondsworth: Penguin
Lord Byron (1988) Don Juan Harmondsworth: Penguin
Percy Shelley (1993) Selected Poems Dover Thrift Edition
John Cook (ed) (1998) William Hazlitt: Selected Writings Oxford: Oxford's World Classics
** Essential Reading
Leigh Hunt The Story of Rimini (SUPPLIED TEXT)
'Barry Cornwall' Sonnets (SUPPLIED TEXT)
Various Early nineteenth-century reviews of Romantic poetry - a selection (SUPPLIED TEXT)
** Recommended Background
Nicholas Roe (1997) Keats and the Culture of Dissent Oxford: Clarendon Press
Jeffrey Cox (1998) Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Keats, Shelley, Hunt and their Circle Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Richard Marggraf Turley (2002) The Politics of Language in Romantic Literature London: Palgrave
Richard Marggraf Turley (2004) Keats's Boyish Imagination London: Routledge
Anne Mellor (1992) Romanticism and Gender New York: Routledge
Mary A. Favret and Nicola J. Watson (eds) (1994) At the Limits of Romanticism: Essays in Cultural, Feminist, and Materialist Criticism Bloomington : Indiana University Press
Peter J. Kitson (ed) (1996) Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley Houndmills: Macmillan

Richard Marggraf Turley John Keats, Barry Cornwall and Leigh Hunt's Literary Pocket-Book Romanticism (2001), 163-76
Richard Cronin Keats and the Politics of Cockney Style Studies in English Literature (1996), 787-805
Greg Kucich The Wit in the Dungeon: Leigh Hunt and the Insolent Politics of Cockney Coteries Romanticism on the Net, 14 (1999),
Nicola J. Watson Transfiguring Byronic Identity in Favret and Watson (1994), above
Susan Wolfson Feminising Keats in Kitson (1996) above
William Keach Cockney Couplets in Studies in Romanticism, 25 (1986), 182-96
Kim Wheatley The 'Blackwood's' attacks on Leigh Hunt Nineteenth-Century Literature, 47 (1992), 1-31
Jerome McGann Keats and the Historical Method in Literary Criticism Modern Language Notes, 94 (May, 1979), 988-1032


This module is at CQFW Level 7