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The University of Southampton

ENGL3100 Revolution and Romanticism: Literature of the 1790s

Module Overview

The 1790s was a decade of revolutions abroad and of chaos and state paranoia at home. Britain began its longest continuous war in 1792. In a letter years afterwards to Byron, Percy Shelley declared that the French Revolution was ‘the master theme of the epoch in which we live’. New ways of registering and representing that theme also became evident in that decade, ways which some were later to describe as ‘Romantic’. This module examines the intimate connection between revolution (primarily the French) and some of those new representations in the discursive and fictional prose, poetry, and visual arts of that decade.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of fictional, poetic, and other texts
  • make connections between fictional and discursive writings of different genres
  • the interrelationship of literary production and its wider historical context
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • see why the 1790s were a crucial decade and investigate, research and structure arguments around the particular themes and concerns of a vexed historical epoch
  • explain changing approaches to poetry with reference to a particular, vexed historical, political and cultural context
  • analyse and comment in detail on poetry, drama, essays, novels and philosophical texts of the 1790s
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse a range of complex written texts and interpret them in the light of their specific contexts
  • question whether there are common historical or formal descriptors for the 1790s
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • present your research findings confidently to the group
  • work in teams or pairs on specific set tasks
  • use internet resources effectively as part of historical research


(Please note that texts may change from year to year.) 1. Revolution: Burke, Price and Paine 2. ‘A Revolution in Female Manners’: Mary Wollstonecraft 3. Letters Home: Helen Maria Williams 4. William Godwin, Caleb Williams 5. Elizabeth Inchbald, A Simple Story 6. William Blake, The (First) Book of Urizen 7. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads 8. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads II 9. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fears in Solitude 10. Coda: 1802

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Seminars • Office hours for individual feedback on essays Learning activities include • Office hours for individual feedback on essays • Experience of organizing and running a seminar • Individual study and research • Accessing and evaluating online resources This module includes a Learning Support Hour. This is a flexible weekly contact hour, designed to support and respond to the particular cohort taking the module from year to year. This hour will include (but not be limited to) activities such as language, theory and research skills classes; group work supervisions; assignment preparation and essay writing guidance; assignment consultations; feedback and feed-forward sessions.

Completion of assessment task70
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Follow-up work20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The Hartley Library's guide to resources for studying English Literature at the University of Southampton..

British Association for Romantic Studies website.

eds. Jon Mee and David Fallon (2011). Romanticism and Revolution: A Reader. 

Poetry and reviews.



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical essay  ( words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Cost of books will not typically exceed £50.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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