Module Catalogue 2023/24

SEL2203 : Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832

SEL2203 : Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jon Quayle
  • Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Orr, Dr Meiko O'Halloran
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 150 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



To explore the many dynamic ways in which writings of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century engaged with such major historical events as the French Revolution and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Throughout the module, we will explore how writers of the Romantic period (c. 1789-c. 1832) used a range of genres - including the novel, poems, essays and prose ‘pamphlets’ - to address themes of national identity, gender, slavery, class, conflict, nature and place, the past, the figure of the poet, childhood and the family, and religion.

Outline Of Syllabus

Starting with the responses of British writers to the French Revolution in the 1790s, we will go on to examine the further re-shaping of literature in Britain after the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1814. Writings by the following authors are likely to be studied: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Percy Shelley, Robert Wedderburn and William Hazlitt.

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) make a positive contribution to group work in seminars and study groups through the sharing of ideas and skills.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1118:00118:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00Students will be required to meet nine times in study groups for one hour.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture materials introduce students to the knowledge outcomes.

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.

Students need time to complete the formative essay and the summative essay as well as the reflective piece.

Seminar tutors will allocate students to self-directed study groups which will meet in advance of their seminar.

To get the most from this module and to prepare adequately for the drafting and finalising of their assessments, students will need to undertake research and reading as advised in the lecture materials and reading lists.

It is hoped that an optional in-person Field Trip to Dove Cottage, Grasmere, will be possible. This trip, funded by the School, ran every year from 2011 to 2019 and usually attracted around 30 students. The feedback was always excellent. If an in-person trip is not feasible, we hope that an optional online virtual tour of Dove Cottage by the Curator and Head of Learning at the Wordsworth Trust may be possible instead.

Students will be invited to surgeries with seminar tutors during their consultation and feedback hours for assessment advice and feedback.

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 assessmnt1A15A 250-word reflective piece of writing about the student's participation in the module.
Written exercise1A85A 2,500-word essay on the work of two authors, one from the first part of the module, the other from the second.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MThis will be an essay of 1,000 words on the work of one author from the first part of the module.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to submit a 250-word piece of writing in which they reflect on their participation in and engagement with the module. This will be taken into account when the seminar tutor awards a mark for participation and engagement. The assessment of participation in seminars encourages students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module.

The end of semester summative essay on the work of two authors, one studied in the first part of the module, the other in the second, ensures engagement with the entire module. In this summative essay students will be able to draw on the research and writing of their formative essays and the feedback they received on it.

The mid-term formative essay on the work of one author studied in the first part of the module will allow students to use the feedback to help them prepare the summative essay.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 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 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.