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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: The Novel in the Romantic Period: Gender, Gothic, and the Nation (PG Version) (ENLI11215)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course addresses the politics of the novel at a crucial stage in its development, namely the four decades after the French Revolution in 1789. It examines the way in which the formal resources of the novel were utilized to stage the conflict between the Enlightenment's assumption of a universal human nature, which was seen as underlying the ideology of radicalism in France, and reactionary discourses of tradition, nation, and culture. This course is jointly taught with undergraduate students.
Course description This course will introduce the student to the history of the novel in a crucial stage of its development. Each week the student will think through questions about particular novels in three broad areas: the formal aspects of these fictions (narrative voice, focalization, plot structure etc); their thematic relation to the historical/political contexts in which they were written and published; and the connections between formal developments and political ideologies. The student's route through these issues will fall into three (chronological, but also thematic) stages. After an introductory seminar, three weeks will be devoted to fictions from the 1790s, written in the context of the fierce 'revolution debate' sparked by events in France. The last of these texts, Mary Hays's Memoirs of Emma Courtney, introduces the student to the role of gender in the defence or critique of social hierarchies, and the second three-week section of the course continues to explore women's writing, first the groundbreaking Irish 'national tale', and then by Jane Austen. In this part of the course, the student will be able to identify the role played in these novels by the categories of nation and gender in addressing the social and political questions explored in the previous three weeks.
At this point the student will submit a term essay (2,500 words) on the material covered so far. Research for this essay will consolidate, and expand in a particular direction, the knowledge acquired in preparing for and contributing to seminar discussion.
The last three weeks of the course turn to Scottish fiction and Scott's transformation of the 'national tale' into the 'historical novel', and responses to this from other Scottish writers. The structure of the course will thus put the student in a position to understand the gender politics of these male-authored texts, as well as their more obvious national and social commitments, and to trace the connection between all three.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  4
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4000 Word Essay (100%)
Feedback Formative feedback on proposed research questions, structure and critical context will be given on essay plans submitted by the deadline.

Feedback on strengths, weaknesses and areas to improve will be given on essays.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of the course a student will be able to demonstrate competence in core skills in the study of English Literature: essay-writing, independent reading, group discussion, oral presentation, small-group autonomous learning.
  2. By the end of the course the student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the political debates about ideas of nation in the novels of the period.
  3. By the end of the course the student will be able to distinguish the various genres and modes of fiction published in this period, and discuss the relation between them.
  4. By the end of the course the student will be able to analyse the relationships between gender, nationality and political ideologies as these are constructed by novels in this period.
  5. By the end of the course a student will be able to demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on a variety of critical and methodological approaches to Romantic period prose fiction.
Reading List

William Godwin, Caleb Williams. Oxford: World's Classics, 1982.
M.G. Lewis, The Monk. Oxford: World's Classics, 1982.
Emma Hays, The Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Oxford: World's Classics, 1996.
Sydney Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl. Oxford: World's Classics, 1999.
Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent (1801) and Ennui. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992.
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814), Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1996.
Walter Scott, Waverley (1814), Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2011.
John Galt, Ringan Gilhaize (1823). Edinburgh: Canongate, 2010.

Stories from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine by James Hogg and others will be supplied by the teaching team via VLE.


Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.
Butler, Marilyn. Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries. Oxford: OUP, 1981.
Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992.
Duncan, Ian. Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens. Cambridge: CUP, 1992.
Ferris, Ina. The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland. Cambridge: CUP, 2002.
Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody's Story: The Vanishing Acts of Woman Writers in the Marketplace, 1670-1820. Berkeley: University Of California Press, 1994.
Johnson, Claudia. Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
---. (1995) Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s. A Study of Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, and Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kelly, Gary. English Fiction of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830. London: Longman, 1989.
---. Women, Writing, and Revolution 1790-1827. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Klancher, Jon. The Making of English Reading Audiences 1790-1832. Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987.
Lynch, Deirdre. 'Nationalizing Women and Domesticating Fiction: Edmund Burke and the Genres of Englishness.' Wordsworth Circle 25.1 (Winter 1994): 45-49.
McMaster, Graham. Scott and Society. Cambridge: CUP, 1981.
Siskin, Clifford. The Work of Writing: Literature and Social Change in Britain, 1700-1830. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998.
Trumpener, Katie. Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1997.
Watson, Nicola. Revolution and the Form of the British Novel, 1790-1825: Intercepted Letters, Interrupted Seductions. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Jointly taught with ENLI10375
Course organiserDr Rebecca Tierney-Hynes
Tel: (0131 6)50 8410
Course secretaryMiss Kara Mccormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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