Module Identifier EN38420  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Damian Walford Davies  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 2 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment One essay of 2,500 words60%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation40%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMISSION OF FAILED ELEMENTS Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves failure in the essay assignment, a new topic must be selected. In the event of failure in the oral presentation element, a 15 minute written script on a new topic, written as if for delivery, with accompanying visual aids to be submitted.100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of texts and literary forms from the Romantic period.

2. Discuss critically the nature of the `visionary aspects' (form style and subject) of these texts and the place of these writers in a tradition of visionary writing.

3. Demonstrate awareness of the social, political and cultural contexts of these works and of the debates in which they intervene.


1. Introduction: Romantic Visions, Dangerous Worlds

2. Envisioning History: William Blake
Texts: Selected poems from Songs of Innocence and Experience; The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Visions of the Daughters of Albion; America; The Book of Urizen, together with Blake's graphic work.

3. Visions of Sin: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Texts: 'Kubla Khan' and 'The Ancient Mariner' (1798 and 1817 texts), together with illustrations of the latter by various artists.

4. Envisioning the Self: William Wordsworth
Texts: The Two-Part Prelude of 1799, together with passages from The Prelude (1805), Books V and XI.

5. Envisioning Evil: Joanna Southcott
Text: A Dispute Between the Woman and the Powers of Darkness.

6. Envisioning Monsters: Mary Shelley
Text: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.

7. Envisioning the Outcast: George Gordon, Lord Byron
Texts: Manfred and Cain.

8. Envisioning the Poet: John Keats
Text: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream.

9. Envisioning Oppression: Percy Bysshe Shelley
Texts: The Mask of Anarchy and Prometheus Unbound.

10. Envisioning Speed and Sudden Death: Thomas De Quincey
Text: The English Mail-Coach, or The Glory of Motion.


This module explores the dramatic visionary nature of the Romantic Imagination, focusing on a series of highly charged canonical and non-canonical texts (poetry, prose and verse-drama) and on visual images. It highlights the mythic, monstrous, violent, apocalyptic, hallucinatory and prophetic forms adopted by Romantic writers as they sought to represent the self, revolution, history, the end of history, evil, redemption and scientific discovery. The module asks students to consider such issues as: What constitutes the 'visionary' and the visionary tradition? How is this mode enlisted to 'reimagine' history? Is it private or public, transgressive or reactionary? What compelled the Romantics to construct new heavens and new hells? How did these authors articulate utopian dreams and terrifying nightmares? How do narcotics energise the Romantic Imagination? This module combines close attention to literary form, language and modes/models of representation with socio-political contextualisation in order to access the surreal and dangerous worlds of the Romantics.

Brief description

This module complements and deepens the study of texts from the Romantic period on the Nineteenth-Century Literature Core module. It introduces students to significant canonical works and to some of the less well known literary productions of the age. Its focus raises central questions regarding the nature of literary responses to the social, political and scientific developments of a revolutionary era.

Reading Lists

De Quincey, Thomas (1998) Confessions of an English opium-eater and other writings /Thomas De Quincey ; edited with an introduction and notes by Grevel Lindop. 0192836544
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (1998.) Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus :the 1818 text /Mary Shelley ; edited with introduction and notes by Marilyn Butler. 0192833669
Wu, Duncan (Sept. 2005) Romanticism:An Anthology 1405120851


This module is at CQFW Level 6