Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

Professionals working in any literary field need to have a good working knowledge of the Romantic Period, as its preoccupations are central to the contemporary world. Romanticism revolutionised ideas about literature, creativity, the mind and the environment - these insights, novel at the time, form the basis of many views commonly held today. The French Revolution generated the promise of liberation from oppressive social structures and inspired writers to break free from conventional modes and ideas. The Romantics introduced the idea that creativity emerged from the deep psychology and emotions of the writer, and that the source of these creative acts - the imagination - was intimately linked to the writer's interactions with nature. This unit is designed to trace these connections between social and cultural contexts and new ideas about creativity through examining a range of literary works. The unit will also discuss the Romantic canon and how many of the most successful authors of the time, particularly women, deserve a place within the category of Romantic Literature. This unit aims to cover a range of Romantic authors and their works, locating them within historical, social and artistic contexts, in order that students may participate in debates about literature, the environment and creativity, knowing the origin of many ideas they may wish to mobilise.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate knowledge of the relevant literature generated through close readingGC1, GC2, GC3
LO2Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audienceGC11, GC12
LO3Locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of texts relevant to Romantic Literature in order to develop an evidence-based argumentGC7, GC8, GC9, GC10
LO4Apply the methods that literary theorists have used to research and interpret Romantic LiteratureGC1, GC2, GC7, GC8
LO5Reflect on key debates relating to literary studies over timeGC1, GC2


  • the characteristics of Romantic Literature
  • definitions of Romanticism and the Romantic canon
  • nature and the imagination in Romantic writing
  • the influence of Gothic conventions
  • the works of key Romantic writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Shelley
  • popular writers of the period such as Anna Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will run in either attendance or multimode formats and will include lectures to provide theory and content knowledge, and tutorials and web-enhanced learning to build a range of skills:

1. Gain a deep knowledge of the Romantic period including social contexts, significant authors and works. Exercises in promoting a foundational understanding of Romanticism as a literary, artistic and philosophical movement will be undertaken early in the unit. Given that the term “Romanticism’ was used retrospectively to describe a varied assembly of authors and texts, canon formation and current debates concerning Romantic canonicity will be covered early and returned to throughout the unit.

2. Hone their skills in the close reading of texts in order to generate deeper levels of analysis. This will involve exercises in close reading of texts to apprehend meanings that are not apparent at a superficial level.

3. Be able to synthesise both the content knowledge and close reading skills to link a developing interpretation to a historical and cultural context. This ability to relate meaning to context will be developed through class and formal exercises where students will discuss case studies in the relationship of textual meaning to its historical and cultural context.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment task one will be timed no later than mid-semester and will be a low risk, relatively lightly weight assessment written task to assess the understanding of foundational concepts including definitions of Romanticism and is designed to encourage engagement with key texts and theories.

The second task requires students to demonstrate their ability to take up a particular issue and offer an interpretation of a literary text. This task will require students to place the work within a cultural and historical context in order to show how Romantic concerns manifest themselves.

The final task is summative and requires students to demonstrate an understanding of literary works and styles over the periods in question and to be able to locate these within cultural, psychological and historic contexts.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The same assessments will be used in attendance and multimode formats.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Foundational Concepts of Romanticism Assessment

This assessment will test students’ understanding of foundational concepts including definitions of Romanticism


LO1, LO5

Analytical/Research Task

This is a task that requires the synthesis of analysis of literature with material and commentary located through research


LO2, LO3, LO4


This task will ask the student to demonstrate a knowledge of a range of literature and an ability to analyse readings through close examination


LO1, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Beenstock, Zoe. The Politics of Romanticism. Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

Bradshaw, Michael. Disabling Romanticism. Palgrave, 2016.

Burwick, Frederick. Romanticism: Keywords. Wiley. 2015.

Churms, S.E. Romanticism and Popular Magic. Palgrave, 2019.

Duff, David (ed). The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism. Oxford, 2018.

Haekel, Ralf. Handbook of British Romanticism. de Gruyter, 2017.

Offord, Mark. Wordsworth and the Art of Philosophical Travel. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Ruston, S. Creating Romanticism: Case Studies in the Literature, Science and Medicine of the 1790s. Palgrave, 2013.

Smith, Andrew (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Wright, Angela and Townshend, Dale (eds). Romantic Gothic: A Companion. Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

Wu, Duncan. 30 Great Myths about the Romantics. Wiley, 2015.

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