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SEL3451 : Keats and Romantic Epic

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Meiko O'Halloran
  • 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


This module explores John Keats’s ambitions to revolutionise the highest literary form: epic poetry. We examine the personal motivations and broader cultural forces driving Keats’s and his contemporaries’ desire to write an epic poem for the Romantic age and for posterity—and the work they produced as part of their epic projects.
How did Keats negotiate the educational and professional class barriers that determined who could create great literature? In what ways does he respond to poetic forefathers who include Homer, Dante, and Milton? How and to what end did Keats and other poets of his day—like Wordsworth, Byron, and Shelley—rethink the role of the poet in society?

Outline Of Syllabus

The focus of the module will be on Keats’s poetry and selected letters—examined in relation to the work of other writers. Primary texts may include ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’, ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’, ‘Sleep and Poetry’, ‘Endymion’, the Odes, ‘Hyperion’ and ‘The Fall of Hyperion’.

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 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 plus 250 word self-reflective log.
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
Essay2MA 1,000-word mid-semester practice essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative work: Students will be invited to submit a 1,000-word mid-semester essay. This formative work will be returned with feedback before the final assessment.

For the final assessment, students will 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 a primary text/selection of primary texts 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 responding constructively to their peers.

Reading Lists