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SEL8533 : Radicalisms

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Edward Clough
  • Lecturer: Dr Leanne Stokoe, Dr Ella Dzelzainis
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module investigates and tests the relationship between radical shifts in literary form and political radicalism in various periods of literary history. It includes three different literary historical periods. Each section explores the term ‘radicalism’ by situating the literature studied in relation to critical and/or theoretical ideas, and sociohistorial moment. Across the module, we consider overarching questions such as: what, if anything, makes a text ‘radical’? How do the meanings of the term shift across time — within and beyond different historical periods and in particular literary genres? We pursue these broad questions through attention to the literature, and students develop their own question based on the texts studied at the end of the module.

Outline Of Syllabus

After an introductory week, focusing on critical texts, we examine ideas of 'radicalism' more closely through literary case studies which may include:

‘Eighteenth-Century Poetry: Nationalisms and Revolutions in Form’
‘Political Radicalism and 1790s Children’s Literature’
‘Transnational Radicalisms: Formal Innovations and 1790s Revolutionary Feminist Ideas’
‘Radical Romantics: The Revolutionary Imagination, 1789-1832'
Literature and Slavery
‘Radical Politics, Radical Genre: The Industrial Novel’
‘Radical Politics and Modernist Experiments in Twentieth-Century Interwar Fiction’

Some of the questions we might ask in our literary case studies are:

What are the implications of formal innovation for the construction of national identities in literature of the late eighteenth century? In what ways do the formal innovations of 1790s writers serve to promote or complicate revolutionary feminist ideas? How can we trace political radicalism in children’s literature? What did radicalism mean to first- and second-generation Romantic poets and how does it shape their literary aesthetic? How and why is the nineteenth-century industrial novel exploited for competing political purposes? And how does the stylistic experimentation and game-playing of fiction between the First and Second World Wars map onto or subvert political agendas?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading95:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity92:0018:00Self-directed student participation activity.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Week 11 drop-in sessions.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study156:0056:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching will be delivered through ten two-hour seminars, with a final week of one-to-one tutorials.Each case study will be led by a subject specialist who will model some of the critical approaches we might take in crafting and researching a new research topic. Students will be able to work on their own case study in consultation with a relevant member of the teaching team.
Students will be expected to prepare answers to set questions and to discuss their individual responses in the seminars.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A100At the end of the module, students will derive an essay question and submit a 4000-word essay based on the module syllabus.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

At the end of the module, students will be required to submit a 4000-word essay presenting their own case study of radicalism or radicalisms in any literary period (whether or not it is taught on the module). Students will be expected to formulate their own research topic and question in consultation with a member of the module teaching team.

Reading Lists