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SEL3340 : Romantic Poetry: Journeys of the Imagination

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Meiko O'Halloran
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


In poetry of the British Romantic period (c. 1789-1832), other worlds often serve as symbolic sites of self-interrogation and conflict. This module explores some of the ways in which several major Romantic poets use journeys of the imagination – and imagined places – to address their individual and societal preoccupations. How do these Romantic poets explore private and public concerns about the role of the poet, freedom and constraint, power, pioneering, utopia, the importance of nature or place, and the creative faculty of the imagination? How and why do they choose to focus on issues of love, death or suffering, family relationships, the politics of early nineteenth-century Britain, or changing ideas about religious faith in their poetry? And how do they respond to their poetic forefathers?

Primary texts may include Coleridge’s 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' (1798 and 1817), Shelley's 'Queen Mab' (1813) and 'A Defence of Poetry (composed 1821), Hogg's 'The Pilgrims of the Sun' (1815), Keats’s 'Hyperion' (1818) and 'The Fall of Hyperion' (1819), and Byron’s poetic drama, 'Cain, A Mystery' (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 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. During the module, we will consider the poets’ intertextual relationships with predecessors such as Dante and Milton and/or 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 ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Tutorial in preparation for final assessment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study137:0037:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:303:00Introduction to the module and Essay preparation advice
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/written presentation and interpersonal communication. Throughout the module, students will be assessed for constructive seminar and study group participation; this will encourage students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module. Students are required to attend a small group tutorial to discuss their ideas and receive feedback on their proposed essay question and approach before preparing for the final assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A85Students write an essay of 3500 words.
Prof skill assessmnt2A15Participation in seminar and study group discussions.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MA short mid-semester practice essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

For the final assessment, students write a 3,500-word essay based on a self-set question. The essay assesses students' skills in close critical analysis of primary texts, research, presentation of an argument, and engagement with critical sources. Essays must demonstrate detailed knowledge of the work of one or two of the authors studied on the module.

The assessment of seminar and study group participation encourages students to engage with all aspects of the module and practise their skills in presenting ideas orally and/or in writing and responding constructively to their peers.

Reading Lists