From Romanticism to Decadence (TRU2010)

StaffDr Christopher Stokes - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims


The module intends to give students a broad overview of the period in question. In particular, it aims to offer a reflective sampling of major genres and modes, and enable students to respond to the texts in light of knowledge of the conventions of those genres and modes. The module also aims to historicise its texts, introducing students to current critical thinking and debates on the relationships between contexts and texts.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate informed appreciation of specific nineteenth-century literary texts and authors.
  • 2. Demonstrate an appreciation of essential nineteenth-century literary history.
  • 3. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of the relation between nineteenth-century literature and important historical and intellectual developments of the time.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context.
  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Through seminar work, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups.
  • 8. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 9. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan

1.  Introduction

2.  Romantic Poetry

3.  Lord Byron

4.  Jane Austen, Emma

5.  Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

6. George Eliot, short fiction

7. Victorian Poetry

8.  Charles Dickens, Bleak House

9.  Charles Dickens, Bleak House

10.  Yeats and Young Ireland

11. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Lecture (11x1hr)11Large-group teaching, text-based lecture based on up-to-date scholarship
Seminar (11x2hr)22Small-group teaching, study notes/questions provided in advance. Combination of free discussion, small-group work and/or small-group activities
Workshops (5x1hr)5Focused small-group teaching, emphasising practical and research skills e.g. context, visual culture, close reading, archival.
Guided independent study262Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1,000 words1-6, 8-9Coversheet (written) and verbal follow-up
Presentation15 minutes1-7Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay502,000 words1-6, 8-9Coversheet and verbal follow-up
Exam502 hours1-6, 8-9Coversheet and verbal follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 2000wEssay 2000 words1-6, 8-9Referral/Deferral Period
Exam 2hrExam 2hr1-6, 8-9Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


Indicative basic reading list:

Primary texts – recommended editions


The Norton Anthologyof English Literature, 8th edn, vol. 2 (New York and London: Norton, 2006)

Jane Austen, Emma (New York and London: Norton, 2011)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam (New York and London: Norton, 2003)

George Eliot, The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob (Oxford: OUP, 2009)

Charles Dickens, Bleak House (London: Penguin, 2003)

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (London: Penguin, 2006)


Selected secondary texts


Black, Jeremy, and Donald M. MacRaild, Nineteenth-Century Britain (Basingstoke, 2003)

Boyd, Kelly and Rohan McWilliam, eds, The Victorian Studies Reader (Abingdon, 2007)

Cook, Chris, The Routledge Companion to Britain in the Nineteenth Century (Abingdon, 2005)

David, Deirdre, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel (Cambridge, 2001)

Purchase, Sean, Key Concepts in Victorian Literature (Basingstoke, 2006)

Roe, Nicholas, ed. Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (Oxford, 1999)

Wu, Duncan, Romanticism: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995)


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative web based resources e.g. Webct:

Departmental ELE page


Project Muse

19th Century British Library Newspapers

19th Century UK Periodicals

British Periodicals, Collections I and II

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Etexts provided through ELE

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Literature, Victorian, Nineteenth-Century, Romanticism