Skip to main content


SEL2203 : Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jon Quayle
  • Lecturer: Dr Meiko O'Halloran, Dr Jennifer Orr
  • 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


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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1116:00116:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery13:003:00N/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 mid-module essay and the summative essay.

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, has run every year from 2011 to 2023 and usually attracts around 40 students. The feedback is 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. They will also have dedicated time to discuss their essay ideas in the final, 2-hour seminar in Week 11.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25A 1,000-word essay responding to an extract from one of the texts studied in Weeks 1-3.
Written exercise1A75A 3,000-word essay on the work of one or two authors studied in Weeks 4-10
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to submit a mid-module summative essay of 1,000 words, responding to an extract from one of the texts studied in Weeks 1-3. This assessment asks students to engage with a text with an awareness of its historical context.

The end of semester summative essay on the work of two authors, studied in Weeks 4-10, ensures engagement with the entire module. Students will have the opportunity in Week 11 to discuss their essay ideas with their seminar leader.

Reading Lists