Romantic and Gothic Literature, 1760-1830 - EN41031

Quick Facts

  • Level 4
  • 30 Credits
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • Pre-1900 Century module.

Module Details

This module builds on the work you have already done on Romantic and Victorian literature at Level 2.

We consider how the Romantic Movement developed out of the dubious traditions of eighteenth-century Sensibility and the Gothic, both of which comprised in equal measure comedy and terror. We also explore the key eighteenth-century artistic concept of the Sublime and analyze ways in which the writers of the period responded to fraught historical events and political concerns.

Your second year work should thus be enhanced and enriched by an analysis of Romantic-period aesthetics and culture, including the debates about slavery and the work of women writers.

The module features poems and ballads by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats and Shelley, and prose by Jane Austen, Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis and Ann Radcliffe.  It also includes writings by now lesser known but once hugely influential poets, such as Thomas Chatterton, Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson.

We will unpick complex topics such as emotion, nature, the city, war, and the empire. And we will test such well-worn concepts as “male” and “female” Gothic and “masculine” and “feminine” Romanticism to see if they remain helpful in understanding the extraordinary breadth and force of the literature of the period.


Successful completion of Level 2 English


Dr Nicole Devarenne 

Teaching staff

Dr Daniel Cook and Dr Nicole Devarenne


The module will be taught by a one weekly one-hour lecture plus one weekly two-hour seminar over 11 weeks.


This module is assessed as follows:

  •  practical criticism exercise of 1,750 words (40%)
  •  research essay of 3,500 words (60%)


This module covers literature in the period 1780-1850 and its most influential critical readings and approaches.

Writers covered may include Jane Austen, Anna Letitia Barbauld, William Blake, Lord Byron, Gottfried August Bürger, Thomas Chatterton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Cowper, Charlotte Dacre, Olaudah Equiano, John Keats, Matthew Lewis, Hannah More, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Robinson, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Charlotte Smith, Horace Walpole, William Wordsworth

Access the online reading list system

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should demonstrate an awareness of:

  • the variety of genres and modes in Romantic and Gothic literature
  • the historical, aesthetic, critical and cultural contexts within which Romantic and Gothic literature developed
  • the development of literary criticism relating to Romantic and Gothic literature, from the contemporary to the present day
  • critical methodologies appropriate to the analysis of Romantic and Gothic literature.