The Love Poem, from Thomas Wyatt to Charli XCX - ENGL7060

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 30 (15) Ben Hickman checkmark-circle


The Love Poem will tell a history of English poetry through the lens of its most important and singular genre. Students will interrogate the characteristics of modern poetry itself through an investigation of love, desire, gender and intimacy as they have been articulated through the changing lyrical tradition of the language. The module will examine key canonical writers from the beginnings of the English lyric, including Thomas Wyatt and William Shakespeare, through complications in metaphysical poetry, the ballad and Romanticism, up to present day representations of homosexual love, popular song and avant-garde expression. Poets will be studied alongside theorists such as Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes and Judith Butler, exploring the possible ways in which poetry can be said to challenge dominant modes of love, interact with their social environment through love poetry, and investigate, express and explain the experiences of attraction, attachment and loss.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main Assessment Methods:
Two essays (3,000 words each) (45% each)
Seminar performance (10%)

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

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See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Develop and then deepen an understanding of the relationship between the experience and expression of love and social change.
2. Develop a deep and broad sense of changing literary traditions and poetic form over a period of centuries, describing the complexities, contradictions and tensions inherent in this changing landscape.
3. Explore in depth the role of the love poem in shaping the institution of English-language poetry itself.
4. Interpret and apply a range of theoretical concepts on issues of language, song, representation, lyric address and intertextuality across a variety of historical and geographical contexts across which the love poem has undergone transformations.
5. Historically situate concepts including desire, the Self and Other, gender, spirituality, transgression and the domestic since the sixteenth century

The intended generic learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Apply close reading techniques to a range of poetic texts and made complex comparisons between them.
2. Conceptualise broad and large scale social and literary-historical change.
3. Further develop skills in group discussions and give detailed and original oral presentations.
4. Increasingly undertake self-directed research, with a particular emphasis on developing the ability to evaluate texts within their historical contexts.
5. Construct original, articulate and well-substantiated arguments deploying secondary critical and theoretical perspectives.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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