Romanticism: Revolutionary Writing from Blake to Shelley

Module code: EN3020

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live, read and write during a period of war, revolution and dynamic social change? If so, this is the module for you. The literature of the Romantic period spans the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 to the unsettled aftermath of the world-wide war against revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Meaning ‘wild’ and ‘irregular’, as well as ‘fanciful’ and ‘idealistic’, Romanticism engages with a range of progressive social causes, including the anti-slavery movement, universal suffrage, environmentalism and feminism. 

Its formal range is no less diverse, encompassing the bold, visual and verbal experimentation of Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) to the radical challenge of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1798) and the innovative ‘second generation’ poetics of P.B. Shelley, Keats and Byron, or again, from Wollstonecraft’s early feminist fictions to Austen’s sophisticated querying of the relations between gender, love and marriage in Pride and Prejudice (1813), and the unnerving assault on science, class and male privilege in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818).