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Unit information: Literature in its Time 3: Romantic and Victorian Poetry in 2014/15

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Unit name Literature in its Time 3: Romantic and Victorian Poetry
Unit code ENGL30027
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Tom Sperlinger
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to the range and diversity of writing in the Romantic and Victorian periods, including both canonical and lesser known authors. There will be a particular emphasis on poetry, though prose writings will also be considered. Topics covered may include the difficulty of defining romanticism; female poets of the period; Poetry and Europe; Poetry and war; politics; parody; and the relationship between literature and other art forms.


The unit aims to improve and extend students understanding of writings in the Romantic period, with a particular emphasis on poetry. A range of relevant concepts and contexts will be considered in detail, and students will be expected to relate particular works to broader themes and ideas. The unit aims to extend students ongoing appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have had opportunities to read widely in writings of the Romantic and Victorian periods; to consider a range of relevant topics (for example, politics, parody, war, and Europe); and to enhance their understanding of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Teaching Information

The unit will normally be taught in ten three-hour seminars, which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion.

Assessment Information

Students will be required to write two essays for formal assessment. The first will be of 1,800 to 2,500 words; in this assignment, students will be asked to engage with a particular text or a topic with a relatively defined scope. The second will be of 2,800 to 4,000 words and will normally involve a wider range of texts and/or approaches to literature in this period. The first essay will be worth 40% of the unit mark; the second essay will be worth 60%.

Reading and References

  • William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience.
  • Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads.
  • Byron, Don Juan.
  • Tennyson, In Memoriam.