Study Abroad and Exchanges



SEL3379 : Enlightened Romantics: writing on the margins

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to explore the literature of the 'long' eighteenth century as a period of literary change, when previously hidden or marginal literary figures begin to take central stage.

Students will explore how the 'Romantic Period' did not just happen out of the blue, but developed from the Age of Reason, 'the Enlightenment'. This opened up literature to a wider array of voices from the far corners of Britain, from different class backgrounds and from women.

By looking at writers who stood on the 'margins' of Romanticism, whether in terms of place, language, gender, or social status, we will examine the basics of Enlightenment thinking, in particularly of the Scottish Enlightenment, and its influence on writers across a number of themes including: the land, nation, nature, gender, sexuality and class.

The module will examine: the questioning of traditional literary forms, the invention of the 'self-taught' poet, the growing idea of individual genius and individual worth, the growth in popularity of working-class poetry, the changing conceptions of regional identity within Britain, the individual poetic voice, the importance of sentiment and sensibility, and the growth of revolutionary writing.

The module attempts to offer a 'four nations' approach to Romanticism which includes a mixture of well-known and lesser-known Romantic poets.

Outline Of Syllabus

The writers to be studied include the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers (particularly Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith) and poets: Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, Robert Burns, Irish labouring-class poets James Orr and Samuel Thomson, Wordsworth, Byron, John Clare, and Jane Austen.

Module themes will include: gender, sex and the body; class; nation and identity; literary form; revolutionary writing; fraternal relationships; and nature, landscape and ecology.

As well as studying poems and novels, students will analyse essays, letters and journals in which these writers expressed their theories of poetry and their relationships to their contemporaries.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Fieldtrip to the Robert Burns Museum and scheduled activities led by the Curator
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision18:008:00One-to-one meetings to discuss essay
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to knowledge outcomes relevant to the module. They address themes common to the authors studied and encourage the students to think comparatively. The seminars allow for the development of knowledge outcomes through close reading of specified texts, and the practice of skills, especially oral presentation and interpersonal communication. In addition, between the lecture and the seminar, students will be required to participate in a self-directed group learning hour. In the course of the module, each student will be responsible for recording group discussion on two occasions.

In previous years we have arranged a fieldtrip to Scotland to complement the study of the poetry by Robert Burns and other Scots writers. There will be a guided tour of the site, a visit to the Museum and bespoke activities with the curator.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A703000 word essay
Written exercise2M30Mid-module commentary of 1000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment by 3000-word essay at the end of the semester is appropriate for a Stage 3 module. The mid-module assessment by critical commentary ensures that students are engaging appropriately with the module at an early stage and can benefit from feedback. Commentary is an important skill of the module in itself and should be included in the summative assessment

Reading Lists