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SEL2203 : Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Rossington
  • Lecturer: Dr Jennifer Orr
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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, we will go on to examine the further re-shaping of literature in Britain through artistic concerns, and the new social values explored by major novelists.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2A15Participation in seminars.
Written exercise2A85This will be a 3000-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.

Reading Lists