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SEL3412 : Writing Liberty in the Romantic Era

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Michael Rossington
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 48 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aim of this module is to examine the ways in which writings of the Romantic era (from the early 1790s to the early 1830s) engage with the struggle for liberty in Britain, continental Europe and globally.

Outline Of Syllabus

The principal focus of the module will be on writings by Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley. Writing concerning race and slavery will also be studied. Genres will include the novel, drama, life-writing and travel writing.

Attention will be given to the manuscripts and early editions of some of the writings studied through digital resources such as ‘The Shelley-Godwin Archive’ and a workshop in Newcastle University Library's Special Collections.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1119:00119:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity81:008:00Students will be required to participate in eight study group meetings of 50 minutes each.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The first lecture introduces the module and the last lecture provides practical advice on the final essay and the short reflective piece. The remainder of the lecture time will focus on the chosen texts and, in the relevant week, an introduction to the workshop in Special Collections. Lectures are the most appropriate method for delivering such content.

Two-hour seminars allow students to make connections between texts and to ensure that the imagining of liberty is addressed through deep and extensive discussion as appropriate for a Stage 3 module. One seminar will take the form of a workshop in Newcastle University Library's Special Collections to examine its early editions of Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley and manuscripts by Byron, Coleridge and Mary Shelley.

Students will be invited to meet the module leader in his consultation and feedback hours to ask any questions about the module, to discuss preparation for their formative essay, feedback on their formative essay and have their final essay title approved (if they wish to choose their own title) and/or to address queries about their final essays.

Study groups are essential to ensure that students are adequately prepared for seminars and also building their participation and engagement skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A85Final essay (2,750 words).
Reflective log2A15Reflection on participation and engagement with module (250 words).
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MFormative essay (1000 words).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will research and write a 2,750-word final essay (85% of the assessment). The essay will be required to make detailed reference to two texts (at least one of which must be a text studied in the module) by a writer or writer or writers studied in the module. Students will be given the option to choose their own essay title (to be approved by the Module Leader), if they wish. Allowing students scope for their own initiative is appropriate for assessment at Stage 3.

The mid-semester formative assignment will be a formative essay of 1000 words. It is essential for students to consolidate their learning in the first six weeks through a piece of written work on which they get feedback before submitting their final essay.

A component of the overall mark will be for seminar participation and engagement (15% of the assessment). Part of this mark will be based on a short reflective piece of 250 words on the student's participation and engagement with the module.

Reading Lists