British Romanticism

This module is divided into key areas across the two terms: Revolution; The Self; Politics and Poetics; and the Gothic.

We will begin by examining revolutionary writing of the Romantic period, including the poetry of such writers as Anna Barbauld, William Blake, and William Wordsworth, and the prose of such writers as Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and Mary Wollstonecraft. We will then consider ideas of the self in the poetry of such writers as Charlotte Smith and Letitia Landon, Lord Byron’s Manfred, and the labouring-class writing of John Clare.

We also examine the relationship between politics and poetics for the second-generation poets such as John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and then, the slave narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and the orientalism of S. T. Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey. Finally, the module will turn its attention to the popular literary movement of ‘Gothic’ which emerges during the Romantic period, exploring its manifestation in a range of texts that may include Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Joanna Baillie’s play De Montfort, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The module aims to give students a sense of the diverse range of writers in this period. We will use the close knowledge of key texts to tackle some of the wider, more abstract ideas such as: nature, the imagination, and the sublime. We will also consider literary ideas within a broader social, historical and philosophical context.