Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ENGL44430: Romanticism and the Forms of Romance

Department: English Studies

ENGL44430: Romanticism and the Forms of Romance

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2018/19 Module Cap 10


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide advanced knowledge of the forms taken by a single literary genre in the Romantic Period in Britain (c. 1790-1830), in an aesthetic context informed by practices in other art forms of the period - especially architecture and design - and by wider aesthetic and cultural debate.
  • To enable students to engage with the connections between different types of creative expression in the Romantic Period, through a focus on a particular, though varied, style.
  • To build, as appropriate to the level, on knowledge and skills acquired in undergraduate studies, to extend and intensify critical enquiry, and to provide new foundations for possible future research.


  • Students will read a selection of poems and novels by Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Smith, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walter Scott, John Keats, and Felicia Hemans. The module will begin with a seminar examining the revival of romance in the second half of the eighteenth century, using extracts from works by Richard Hurd, Horace Walpole, and Clara Reeve. It will then explore the different treatments of romance in works selected from: The Romance of the Forest (Radcliffe), The Old Manor House (Smith), ‘Christabel’ (Coleridge), Marmion, The Antiquary, and Ivanhoe (Scott), ‘Isabella’, ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ (Keats), ‘Arabella Stuart’ and ‘An Hour of Romance’ (Hemans). Two seminars will focus, alongside literary works, on ‘romances in stone’, with special reference to Strawberry Hill and Abbotsford, and on ‘romance’ interiors and remodellings, with special reference to Durham and the north east (including Durham and Alnwick Castles).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will possess:
  • A detailed knowledge of the different forms taken by the literary genre of romance in the Romantic Period, and of related forms in other arts.
  • An enhanced and in-depth understanding of selected literary works and an understanding of their place in wider aesthetic debates of the period.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • Advanced critical skills in the close reading and analysis of literary texts;
  • An ability to demonstrate advanced knowledge of a chosen field of literary and related studies;
  • An ability to articulate and substantiate at a high level an imaginative response to literature;
  • An ability to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the cultural, intellectual, and socio-political contexts of literature;
  • An advanced command of a broad range of vocabulary and critical terminology.
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • an advanced ability to analyze critically;
  • an advanced ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in structured and systematic ways;
  • an advanced ability to interpret complex information of diverse kinds through the distinctive skills derived from the subject;
  • expertise in conventions of scholarly presentation and bibliographical skills;
  • an independence of thought and judgement, and ability to assess acutely the critical ideas of others;
  • sophisticated skills in critical reasoning;
  • an advanced ability to handle information and argument critically;
  • a competence in information-technology skills such as word-processing and electronic data access;
  • professional organization and time-management skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students are encouraged to develop advanced conceptual abilities and analytical skills as well as the ability to communicate an advanced knowledge and conceptual understanding within seminars.
  • The capacity for advanced independent study is demonstrated through the completion of two summative pieces of work (each 3,000 words in length).
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 Weekly in Epiphany term 2 hours 18
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Preparation and Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 3000 words 50%
Essay 2 3000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University