Europe after Napoleon 1815-1849 - HI886

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
7 30 (15)







The period 1815-1848 is often seen as an age of stagnation, reaction and obscurantism when compared to the heroic revolutionary and Napoleonic maelstroms that had preceded it. There is a sense that, once the monarchs who attended the Congress of Vienna returned home, they turned the clocks back to 1789 and pretended that the previous decades had never happened. This is why the period is often given the label of the 'Restoration.' Nothing could be further from the truth. This was the age of Tocqueville, Turner, Balzac, Hugo, Schubert, Gogol, Hegel, Rossini, Bellini, Mazzini and Schinkel. Europe was awash in political, international and cultural ferment. States could not just sweep reality under a carpet of reaction, Europeans struggled to reconcile their heroic revolutionary past with the need for stability in the present. This age witnessed the first experiments with modern parliamentary government and democracy ceased being shorthand for demagogy. Key terms, like liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and egotism, that remain foundational to our contemporary political lexicon, were all coined at this time. Equally, these years witnessed the great revolt against the austere classicism of the eighteenth century. Artists, novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers and architects all sought keenly their inner genius and struggled to give life to their demons and monstrous passions. The movement known today as Romanticism was the result of this far from innocent soul-searching. It had repercussions that went well beyond the cultural sphere, spilling over into the world of politics, government, war and peace.

This module will introduce students to the latest research, theories and controversies surrounding the history of the European Restorations. Each week a theme, event or controversy will be chosen. Students will be presented with a key historiographical text and a key primary source. Every week, they will try to gauge how well the interpretations and arguments of historians fit the period. The primary goal of this module is to demonstrate that, far from stagnant, the Post-Napoleonic age was a crucial étape in the transition to what we today understand as modernity.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Learning and teaching will be carried out through eleven 2-hour lecture/seminar sessions.

Seminars will include the interrogation of key secondary sources and some primary sources. These sessions will be based upon rigorous preparation through reading and personal study.
The lectures will, among other aims, guide students towards the recommended reading which will ensure that students interact with higher concepts in historiography, intellectual thought, political theory and post-imperial Europe. These aims will further be achieved through reading, seminar discussion and presentations.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework:

• One extended essay of 6000 words. This essay will be selected in consultation with the seminar leader. It will take a theme, event, or historiographical controversy from this period and study it in depth as a case study. The essay will make substantial use of primary sources and will also be related to latest historiography. The essay will be worth 80% of the final mark.
• Two formal in-class presentations, each worth 7.5% of the final mark.
• One 1000-word written outline of the two presentations, worth 5% of the final mark.

Indicative reading

• M.S. Anderson, The Ascendancy of Europe: 1815-1914 (London, 2003)
• Michael Broers, Europe After Napoleon: Revolution, Reaction and Romanticism, 1814-1848 (Manchester, 1996)
• T.C.W. Blanning, The Nineteenth Century: Europe 1789-1914 (Oxford, 2001)
• -, The Romantic Revolution (London, 2011)
• Jacques Droz, Europe between Revolutions 1815-1848 (London, 1985)
• Robert Gildea, Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914 (Oxford, 2003)
• Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848 (London, 1988)
• Mark Jarrett, The Congress of Vienna and its Legacy: War and Great Power Diplomacy After Napoleon (London, 2014)
• Henry A. Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22 (any edition)
• Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, NJ, 2015)
• Adam Zamoyski, Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries 1776 - 1871: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries 1776-1871 (London, 1999)
• -, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848 (London, 2014)

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. Demonstrate an enhanced and sophisticated understanding of the political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural and social history of the History of the European Restorations 1815-1849.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of advanced concepts in historiography, intellectual thought, political theory and post-imperial Europe.
3. Demonstrate an enhanced capability to understand complex and multi-valent movements like dynasticism, counter-revolution, conservatism, liberalism, socialism, romanticism and nationalism.


The intended generic learning outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate their mental flexibility.
2. Improved their ability to sustain concentration and aim.
3. Gained the ability to construct coherent written and oral arguments.
4. Gained the ability to research different source types.
5. Gained the ability to produce a variety of robust outputs.

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