Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: English Studies


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Students are expected to read specified works by Byron, Shelley and Keats in detail; to show advanced knowledge of critical debate; and to explore the poetic achievement of the three poets, in part through comparison and connection between the works of the poets. These objectives will be met through the requirements that students undertake appropriate reading and writing for seminars and the feedback session, and through the assessment process (2 essays of 3,000 words, one requiring comparison between at least two of the poets).'


  • This module will explore the poetry of Byron, Shelley, and Keats. It will concentrate principally on questions of poetic achievement in the work of the poets, and will also invite students to compare and connect works by the poets. A wide range of poems will be discussed, such as (by Byron) Childe Harold's Pilgrimage , Cantos 3 and 4, Manfred , Beppo and Don Juan , Cantos 1-4; (by Shelley), 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty', 'Mont Blanc', Julian and Maddalo , Prometheus Unbound , 'Ode to the West Wind', Adonais , and The Triumph of Life; and (by Keats) Endymion , 'The Eve of St Agnes', 'Lamia', the Odes, Hyperion , and The Fall of Hyperion. Students will also need to read a wide range of Byron's and Keats's letters and Shelley's A Defence of Poetry. The Durham Library contains facsimiles of poems by the three poets which make it possible to study the composition and revision of some of their most famous work.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • articulate their in-depth knowledge of the poetry of three major Second-Generation Romantic poets: Byron, Shelley, and Keats;
  • demonstrate a sophisticated awareness of the poetic achievement of the three poets;
  • be able to compare and contrast the work of at least two of the poets.
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 studies;
  • an ability to offer advanced analysis of formal and aesthetic dimensions of literature;
  • 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, socio-political and linguistic contexts of literature;
  • an ability to articulate an advanced knowledge and understanding of conceptual or theoretical literary material;
  • an advanced command of a broad range of vocabulary and critical literary terminology.
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • an advanced ability to analyse 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 organisation 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 within seminars.
  • The capacity for advanced independent study is demonstrated through the completion of two summative pieces of work (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 Fortnightly 2 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 3000 words 50%
Essay 3000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

One essay 2000 words.

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