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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:39

Course Overview

The 1790s was a turbulent decade in which literature, politics and science interacted in unprecedented ways, producing far-reaching changes in all areas of intellectual life. The rise of Romantic poetry coincided with a cult of Gothic horror, new forms of fiction and drama, and an explosive pamphlet war unleashed by the French Revolution. This course explores the distinctive culture of the revolutionary decade, studying poems, novels and plays by Coleridge, Blake, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, 'Monk' Lewis and other writers, alongside Jacobin and anti-Jacobin polemics, courtroom speeches, political cartoons, and experiments with 'laughing gas' in the laboratories of the poet-chemist Humphry Davy. ‚Äč

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor David Duff

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • English (EL) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims: To demonstrate how the literature of the 1790s is shaped by historical events and the revolutionary ?spirit of the age? To explore connections in this period between literature and other art forms including visual satire To examine the relationship between literature and other cultural spheres including science and politics To analyse works of literature with attention to content, style and historical significance To develop a broader understanding of a formative phase in Romanticism Main Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and understanding of: * The distinctive character of 1790s literature across a range of genres * The relation between literature and history at this pivotal moment * The connection between literary works and other cultural forms Intellectual Skills -- an ability to: * Analyse works of literature in an historically informed way * Explain how literary content, style and function are linked * Extend literary critical techniques to other forms of writing Transferable Skills -- an ability to * summarise complex arguments * express ideas clearly and succinctly both orally and on paper * present written work in a scholarly form Content: The 1790s saw not only the rise of Romantic poetry but also an escalating craze for Gothic novels and horror ballads, daring experiments in autobiography, a new kind of political fiction, and an explosive pamphlet war unleashed by the French Revolution and the newly active radical movement. This course links the literature, politics and history of the Revolutionary decade, studying poems, novels and plays by writers such as Coleridge, Wordsworth, Godwin, Wollstonecraft and 'Monk' Lewis alongside Jacobin and anti-Jacobin polemics, satirical cartoons by Gillray and Rowlandson, and experiments with laughing gas in the laboratories of the poet-chemist Humphry Davy.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 2 x 3000 word essays (each 40%) 1 solo presentation (10%) SAM (10%)

Formative Assessment

Oral feedback via seminars and written feedback via essay cover sheets and SAM forms.


Written feedback on essays Written feedback on presentation SAM mark/comment sheet

Course Learning Outcomes


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