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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32993 Romantic Lyric Poetry

20 creditsClass Size: 20

School of English

Module manager: Dr Jeremy Davies

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is suitable for students from any discipline who have an informed interest in poetry, and a willingness to engage with theoretical approaches to literary study. We will make use of the specialized vocabulary of prosody and poetics, but the seminars will be accessible to students who are not familiar with that vocabulary before the start of the course. As with all literature modules, the main prerequisites for success will be the ability to take on large volumes of (sometimes challenging) reading with confidence and pleasure, and the closely related ability to write clearly and fluently.


- To scrutinise and interpret a substantial body of poetry from the British Romantic period
- To work towards a sophisticated understanding of prosody and poetic form
- To analyse and evaluate critical theories of the lyric both from the Romantic period (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley) and from recent times (Herrnstein Smith, Agamben, Jarvis, Culler)
- To develop skills of close reading, writing about poetry, and editorial annotation

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should be able to:
- understand and explicate a wide range of Romantic-period writing
- draw together conceptual and formal issues in interpretations of the era’s poetry
- appreciate how debates about canon-formation, gender, Romantic ideology, and historicism have influenced modern scholarly approaches to the Romantic lyric
- analyse poetry in the light of both Romantic-period and recent theories of lyric address, rhetoric, selfhood, and textuality
- articulate an understanding of texts on the module in both an editorial presentation of a previously neglected poem, and an extended essay displaying an appropriate command of scholarly writing


It was, one journalist remarked in 1819, a 'most poetical age.' The years between about 1780 and 1830 saw the production of some of the most intense and subtle poetry ever written in English. Several of the era's poets would become central points of reference in the study of English literature: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Many others-including many female and labouring-class poets-have recently started to command renewed attention and respect after long periods of neglect. This module gives you a chance to study the poetry of the Romantic era in intimate detail.

The module will suit students who are curious about issues of literary form and structure, and who would like to add to their earlier encounters with literary theory. We will combine close readings of a diverse range of poems with a study of some of the most influential theories of poetry of the last two centuries. We will investigate the idea of lyric poetry, and how its blurring into other genres co-exists with lyric's distinctive and enduring strategies of enchantment. Slow, careful explorations of individual poems will lie at the heart of the course. The module is intended to be an appropriate choice whether or not you have previously taken the core module 'Literature of the Romantic Period.' It will complement the core module by offering a deeper engagement with one vital aspect of the period's literature, whilst also serving as a stand-alone introduction to a celebrated and influential body of work.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus five informal hour-long lectures.

Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution.
- Feedback on unassessed close reading exercise

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work2500 word essay plus editorial commentary and an unassessed close reading100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

This module will be assessed by one portfolio consisting of a single essay of up to 2500 words (including quotations and footnotes), plus an editorial commentary on a poem of your choice. One unassessed close reading exercise is required which will be returned individually. This does not form part of the assessment for this module, but is a requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:24:14


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