The Byron-Shelley Circle

This module examines the work of three of the great writers of the Romantic period, the poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, and the novelist, Mary Shelley. Famously, these three writers lived and worked together during the summer of 1816, an episode that produced two of the dominant myths of modern literature - Frankenstein (in Mary Shelley's novel) and the Vampire (in a story based on Byron by another member of the group, John Polidori) - both of which we will examine. Throughout their careers these writers were engaged in a creative and critical conversation with each other that addressed major themes including: conceptions of the heroic; the possibilities of political change; literary, scientific, and biological creation; the East; transgressive love; gender roles; and the Gothic. The module will provide an opportunity to study in detail these writers' works and to consider them within their historical, cultural and intellectual contexts.