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Eighteenth Century Literature and Romanticism

  • Module code: EL5004
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 5
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module is an optional period module at Level 5 and explores the major authors and literary themes of the ‘long’ eighteenth century. Students will be required to think about literary production in relation to historical and cultural change and to explore the inter-connections of satire and sensibility, town and country, and polite and popular literature through its focus on major developments in the period such as the following: satire and society, the ‘rise of the novel’ debate, sensibility and the literature of feeling, and the growing participation of women in the literary marketplace. Key to this year-long study of eighteenth-century literature is the crucial context it provides for understanding the evolution of Romanticism towards the end of the century. The module aims to situate the poetry of the major Romantic poets between 1780-1830 in an historical context and explore the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin their work. It also seeks to scrutinise the formation of literary categories such as ‘Romanticism’ and encourage a critical scepticism about the usefulness or otherwise of such terms.

Aims

  • Introduce students to the major authors and literary themes of the ‘long’ eighteenth century
  • Think about literary production in relation to historical and cultural change
  • Explore major developments in the period such as: satire and society, the ‘rise of the novel’ debate, sensibility and the literature of feeling, and the growing participation of women in the literary marketplace
  • Situate the poetry of the major Romantic poets between 1780-1830 in an historical context and explore the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin their work
  • Scrutinise the formation of literary categories such as ‘Romaniticism’ and encourage a critical scepticism about the usefulness or otherwise of such terms                                               

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of some of the key texts and literary themes of the period
  • Display an ability to understand literary texts within their social, cultural and historical contexts and as part of an historical discourse
  • Show an awareness of the main critical debates about the period including: the nature of satire; the concerns of neo-classical poetry; the ‘rise of the novel’; the literature of feeling; and the role of women as writers
  • Use an appropriate vocabulary for thinking critically about such issues as self and society; nature, the natural and the unnatural; terror and the sublime; gendered conventions; and genre
  • Discuss critically and write in an informed way about eighteenth century literature as well as the idea of Romanticism and its importance

Curriculum content

Students will study a range of poems from the 'long' eighteenth century, including Romantic poetry (for example, works by Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Felicia Hemans and Lord Byron), as well as key novels of the period (such as Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews, Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility and Mary Shelley, Frankenstein) alongside non-fictional works which strengthen students' understanding of particular cultural contexts (for example, Mary Wollstonecraft, A Short Residence in Sweden and William Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of the Rights of Woman).

Teaching and learning strategy

The class will meet for a one-hour interactive lecture which will situate the literature of the Eighteenth Century to Romantic periods within appropriate historical, cultural and theoretical contexts. In some weeks the lecture will be replaced with a workshop which will enable students to work in small groups on questions raised in the previous week’s lecture. The class will then divide into seminar groups which will be centred around class discussion and will involve close readings of the texts. The seminar will be based on the principles of collaborative learning, where classes will be structured to promote active learning and individual engagement with the texts.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 22 two-hour Interactive Lectures 22 one-hour Seminars 44 22
Guided independent study Guided Independent Study 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The summative assessment for this module comprises of a portfolio (50%) and Take Home Test (50%). For the purposes of illustration, the portfolio might be composed of the following elements:

1)    Online Discussion Board/Seminar Discussion Sheets

2)    Essay 

 

Formative assessments involve a variety of oral presentations in-class, active participation in workshops and seminars, weekly inquiry sheets, and meetings with the module leader and module tutors during independent study. Feedback will be provided through peer review and by the module tutors. All assignments for formative assessment will be forward-led and focused on promoting students’ progress in developing critical and communication skills throughout the year. The critical skills gained in this module will be tested in a variety of summative assessments within the portfolio and are designed to complement the work done by students in the two core Level 5 modules as well as feeding forward into the Level 6 Capstone

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Demonstrate an advanced understanding of some of the key texts and literary themes of the period; Portfolio Exercises and Take Home Test
2) Display an ability to understand literary texts within their social, cultural and historical contexts and as part of an historical discourse; Portfolio Exercises and Take Home Test
3) Show an awareness of the main critical debates about the period including: the nature of satire; the concerns of neo-classical poetry; the 'rise of the novel'; the literature of feeling; and the role of women as writers; Portfolio Exercises and Take Home Test
4) Use an appropriate vocabulary for thinking critically about such issues as self and society; nature, the natural and the unnatural; terror and the sublime; gendered conventions; and genre; Portfolio Exercises and Take Home Test
5) Discuss critically and write in an informed way about Eighteenth Century literature as well as the idea of Romanticism and its importance; Portfolio Exercises and Take Home Test

Achieving a pass

It IS a requirement that the major category of assessment is passed in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Abrams, M. H. et al., The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Volumes 1 & 2)

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders

Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

 

Bibliography recommended reading

Butler, Marilyn, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and its Background 1760-1830 (Oxford, 1981)

Carey, Brycchan, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment and Slavery (London, 2005)

Clarke, Norma, The Rise and Fall of the Woman of Letters (London, 2004)

Curran, Stuart, ed., The Cambridge Companion to English Romanticism (Cambridge, 1993)

Day, Aiden, Romanticism (London, 1996)

Eger, Elizabeth, ed., Women, Writing, and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, 2001)

Frye, Northrop, A Study of English Romanticism (New York, 1968)

Hunt, J. Paul, Before Novels: the cultural contexts of Eighteenth Century English Fiction (New York, 1990)            

Jones, Vivian, ed., Women and Literature in Britain, 1700-1800 (Cambridge, 2000)

McGann, Jerome, The Poetrics of Sensibility: A Revolution in Literary Style (Oxford, 1996)

Mellor, Anne, Romanticism and Gender (London, 1993)

Nussbaum, Felicity, The Autobiographical Subject: Gender and Ideology in Eighteenth Century England (Baltimore, 1989)

Watts, Ian, The Rise of the Novel (London, 1957)

 

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