Upheaval of the Mind: European Romanticism in Context - CP327

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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4 15 (7.5)







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.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

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

Indicative reading

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

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.

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