EL6020 - Boxing with Byron: Romanticism and Popular Culture

What will I learn on this module?

The Romantic period (1789-1832) was a time of revolutionary change in literature, yet the literature of the period is typically represented by a narrow list of elite poets. On this module you will learn about a much more diverse range of writing: by men and women, by the poor and the rich, and taking in styles from satirical poetry, to advertising, to magazine fiction, to essays about opium addiction. Is there a distinction between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, and who gets to decide the answer? This was a question the Romantics asked, and it is one you will learn to answer. You will also learn to investigate the diverse range of literature produced in the period yourself by using e-resources to find texts from the period that you think are valuable. You will develop an enhanced knowledge of the literature and culture of the period and as a result you will learn to question the way that literary critics tell stories about who and what should count in literary history.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught via a combination of lectures and seminars. You will have a 1 hour lecture which will introduce you to the texts you are studying that week and place those in the context of the cultural debates of the period. This will set you up with the knowledge to think about the texts for yourself. In the seminars you will have 2 hours to engage with and discuss those texts in detail. Seminars allow you the chance to test out the ideas you have about the texts and to learn from others through debate and discussion. You will also have the opportunity to develop your critical skills through group discussion and informal presentations. You will also learn through independent research and reading under the guidance of your tutor.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your tutor will place texts and other historical and cultural material on Blackboard to allow you to extend your knowledge of the vibrant literary culture of the period. In addition you will have access to PowerPoint slides from lectures and material to help you with your reading and prepare for seminar discussion.

Your module tutor’s expertise in the literature and culture of the Romantic period will help you explore the period’s culture through lectures and seminars. In addition your tutor will be available in office hours and on email/phone to discuss any queries or concerns you have and to help you in your research for seminars and assessment.

Your tutor will provide feedback on your ideas for your first piece of assessment, and feedback on this piece will feed forward to help you develop your skills for the second assignment.

You have a designated Guidance Tutor. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills
• directing you to services which can help you with your academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)
The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• 1. You will have a critical understanding of a wide range of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture from the Romantic period

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• 2. You will be better able to consider the relation between a literary text and its historical context
• 3. You will have enhanced skills in literary analysis and in presenting an argument in written form
• 4. You will develop skills in undertaking primary research using electronic and non-electronic research tools

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• 5. You will have the ability to use your intellectual curiosity to challenge cultural norms

How will I be assessed?

There are two pieces of assessment.

In the first you will put your research skills into practice. Your tutor will help you use electronic sources and local research libraries to find a text from the Romantic period which has been ignored by critics. You will then present a 1500-word critical introduction to that text similar to those you find in a published edition of a novel: you will make a case for this text to be read and valued by the readers of the future. This assignment is worth 40%. You will receive feedback via written commentary. (MLO 1, 4, 5)

Before submitting the assignment you will submit a non-assessed (‘formative’) plan for your assignment. The feedback on this, provided via email, will help you develop your assignment. (MLO 1, 5)

Having built up your knowledge of the Romantic period’s diverse culture, your second assignment allows you to explore the texts you have been studying in detail. You will write a 2500-word essay on the texts you found to be most stimulating and provocative. This assignment is worth 60%. You will receive feedback via written commentary. (MLO 1, 2, 3, 5)





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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