Skip to main content

Unit information: Period Unit 3: 1740-1900 in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Period Unit 3: 1740-1900
Unit code ENGL30135
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Pam Lock
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will introduce students to the range and diversity of writing in the Romantic and Victorian periods, including both canonical and lesser-known authors. There will be a particular emphasis on poetry, though prose writings will also be considered. Topics covered may include: the difficulty of defining periods and genres; diversity and experimentation in forms; women poets across the nineteenth century; humour; poetry and war; representation of class and social change; and the relationship between literature and other art forms.


This unit aims to provide students with opportunities to extend their understanding of a broad range of prose and poetry from 1740-1900.

A range of relevant concepts and contexts will be considered in detail, and students will be expected to relate literary works to broader themes and ideas in order to situate texts in their wider cultural environments.

Students will study: the development of the novel across the century, its changing place in the literary canon and in the marketplace, and its relationship to other prose forms. The unit aims to facilitate students’ ongoing and detailed appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Analyse a wide range of writings of the Romantic and Victorian periods
  2. Critically examine a range of topics relevant to the study of Romantic and Victorian literature
  3. Place writing from this period in the wider context of literature in English
  4. Present a persuasive written argument appropriate to level H/6

Teaching details

The unit will normally be taught in 1 x 3-hour seminar per week for 10 weeks; each will utilise a range of teaching methods including: lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion.

Assessment Details

One 2000-word essay (40%) [ILOs 1-4]

One 3000-word essay (60%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads

Ira Aldridge, The Black Doctor

Selections from

Matthew Sweet, Inventing the Victorians