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SEL3340 : Romantic Poetry: Journeys of the Imagination

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Meiko O'Halloran
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


In poetry of the Romantic period, other worlds often serve as symbolic sites of self-interrogation and conflict. This module explores some of the ways in which Romantic poets use journeys of the imagination – and imagined places – to address their individual and societal preoccupations. How does their representation of imagined journeys and places question, for example, private or public concerns about the relationship between the poet and society, the role of the imagination, the political dynamics of early nineteenth-century Britain, and changing ideas about religious faith? How do the poets position their work in relation to received literary traditions?

Primary texts may include Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798 and 1817), Shelley's Queen Mab (1813), James Hogg’s Pilgrims of the Sun (1815), Keats’s The Fall of Hyperion (1819) and Byron’s poetic drama, Cain (1821). Throughout the module, we will consider Romantic poets' imagined journeys and uses of other worlds in response to the work of 'high' literary ancestors such as Virgil, Dante, and Milton, as well as popular eighteenth-century ballads of supernatural abduction or visitation.

Outline Of Syllabus

Primary texts may include the work of Coleridge, Shelley, Hogg, Keats, and Byron. Throughout the module, we will consider the poets’ intertextual relationships with predecessors such as Virgil, Dante, and Milton, as well as popular eighteenth-century ballads.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the knowledge outcomes. 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. Throughout the module, students will be assessed for constructive seminar participation and the preparation of study group reports; this will encourage students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module. Students are required to discuss their essay plans with the module leader in a small-group tutorial before the end of the module.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A853500 words
Prof skill assessmnt1A15Oral participation in seminars and preparation of study group reports
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MA short mid-semester practice essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be invited to submit a short mid-semester practice essay. This formative work will be returned with feedback before the final assessment.

The 3,500-word essay assesses students' skills in close critical analysis of primary texts, research, writing, and engagement with critical sources. Essays must demonstrate detailed knowledge of the work of at least two of the authors studied on the module.

The assessment of study group reports and oral participation in seminars encourages students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module. Students are expected to complete the required reading each week and meet for small group discussion, taking it in turns to lead the study group and write the group report (1-2 pages). In seminars, students should demonstrate the ability to present ideas orally and respond constructively to their peers.

Reading Lists