Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL2203 : Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Rossington
  • Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Orr
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To explore the many dynamic ways in which late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century authors rewrote and expanded the identity of the British nation - reacting to major historical events such as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars and using their writing to reflect, re-shape, and transform society. Throughout the module, we will explore how writers of the Romantic period used a wide range of genres - from political prose to epic poems, and narrative poetry to novels and essays - to address the key themes of national identity, the relationship of the individual with society, the role of the family, the figure of the poet, the power of the imagination, the reinvention of the past, and the vivid critical portraits of the personalities who exemplified the Romantic era.

Outline Of Syllabus

Starting with British responses to the French Revolution in the 1790s and the poetry of first-generation Romantics such as Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, we will go on to examine the further re-shaping of literature in Britain through the artistic concerns of Keats's dream worlds, and the new social values explored by major novelists such as Jane Austen and James Hogg, before concluding with Hazlitt's influential cultural criticism on 'the Spirit of the Age'.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

(1) understand the significance of the historical contexts in which Romantic period authors wrote;
(2) discuss the relationship between literary forms deployed and ideas expressed;
(3) evaluate recent critical positions towards the writings studied;
(4) compare and contrast the writings studied.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

(1) exercise sensitivity to verbal creativity both orally and in writing;
(2) offer historically-informed insights into specific texts both orally and in writing;
(3) assimilate information from a number of different sources;
(4) evaluate the critical views of others;
(5) produce with others, in small groups, notes and oral presentations.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Assessed
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Assessed
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Assessed
      • Leadership : Assessed
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:0035:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork15:005:00Students will participate in a day-trip to Dove Cottage, Grasmere.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the knowledge outcomes, as listed. Seminars develop this knowledge further and provide a structured learning space where students practise the skills of close textual analysis, critical debate and the evaluation of critical positions.

Between the lecture and the seminar, students will participate in a self-directed study group where they will discuss topics relevant to the module and respond to set readings.

The day-trip to Dove Cottage, Grasmere will take place on a Saturday. Students will be given a bespoke lecture on the world-class manuscript and rare book collections by curatorial staff at the Wordsworth Trust. They will also be given a guided tour of Dove Cottage and have opportunity to see the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1A15Participation in seminars.
Written exercise1A85This will be a 3000-word essay.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1M1500 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment by end-of-semester essay ensures detailed engagement with the module content.

The assessment of participation in seminars encourages students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module.

Students will also be required to submit a 1500-word formative essay. The timing of the essay ensures that students are engaging appropriately with the module at an early stage.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.