Upheaval of the Mind: European Romanticism in Context - CPLT3270

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module looks at European Romanticism as a cultural-revolutionary movement. Hoping to break free from established hierarchies, norms, and conventions, one cherished goal of the Romantics was to liberate the modern individual from 'society', understood as a self-inflicted state of alienation.

This module traces the manifold manifestations of Romantic thought within their specific cultural-historical contexts. Our discussion will focus on a selection of French, German, and British Romantic writers (for example: Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Goethe, the Brothers Schlegel, Kleist, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, and Mary Shelley). We will critically analyse their works in close alignment with a selection of Romantic and more recent theoretical works (for example by: Freud, Todorov, and de Man) to gauge their significance within their own cultural-historical framework, and to consider their potential legacy in literature and society today.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay (2,000 words) – 80%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Chateaubriand, F. (2018). Atala and René (Classic Reprint Series), London: Forgotten Books
Goethe, J.W. (2013). The Sorrows of Young Werther, New York: Penguin Classics
Hoffmann, E.T.A. (2016). The Sandman, New York: Penguin Classics
Rousseau, J. (2012). Basic Political Writings: Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Discourse on Political Economy, On the Social Contract, The State of War, Cambridge, MA: Hackett Publishing
Shelley, M. (2014) Frankenstein, Richmond: Alma Classics
Wordsworth, W. (1995). The Prelude: The Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850), New York: Penguin Classics

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a critical overview and understanding of Romantic European Literatures within their respective cultural-historical contexts;
Engage thematically and comparatively with a range of literary and theoretical texts from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds;
Demonstrate an understanding of key philosophical concepts through analysis of the role of key motifs in the texts;
Demonstrate an understanding of classic and recent criticism relating to texts and contexts studied on the module.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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