Romanticism and Critical Theory - EN333

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.




Not available as a Wild Module



This year-long course examines some of the most significant writing of the Romantic period (1780-1830) - a period in which the role and forms of literature were being redefined - alongside recent debates in critical theory. You will study a wide range of literary texts from the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats to the novels of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, with reference to contemporary literary and political debates and against the backdrop of the period’s turbulent history. In parallel, this module explores fundamental critical questions about literature: Why read it? What is an author? What is the role of poetry in society? How is literature shaped by culture? What is ‘Art’? Continuities and disjunctions between Romantic writers’ answers to these questions and those provided by more recent literary theorists will be a central concern of the course.


Contact hours

Year long, 1hr lecture plus 2hr seminar per week.

Method of assessment

67% Coursework, 33% Exam

Indicative reading

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Period (Volume D, 9th Edition)
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2nd Edition)
SHELLEY, Mary, 'Frankenstein' (1818)
DE QUINCEY, Thomas, 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater' (1821)
AUSTEN, Jane, 'Sense and Sensibility' (1811)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following subject specific learning outcomes:

• Gain an understanding of the relationships between literature, Romanticism and critical theory.
• Be able to interpret and apply a range of theoretical concepts and readings surrounding the ideas and histories of Romanticism across a variety of regional and historical contexts, and make productive comparisons and distinctions between them.
• Develop reasonably complex and historically situated approaches to key literary and Romantic concepts like nature, imagination, orientalism, authorship, feminism, etc.
• Further develop the capacity to structure nuanced arguments centred on the close relationship between Romanticism and critical theory.
• Gain a sufficient understanding of the different literary traditions and theoretical movements that have populated literary/ English studies.

On completion of this module students will be able demonstrate the following generic learning outcomes:

• An ability to apply close reading techniques to a range of literary texts and to make complex comparisons between them.
• Development of the skills necessary for participating in group discussions and giving oral presentations.
• An increased capacity for self-directed research and the ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives.
• An ability to construct original, articulate and well-substantiated arguments.,
• An ability to manage one’s time and workload effectively.

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