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

Undergraduate Course: The Novel in the Romantic Period: Gender, Gothic, and the Nation (ENLI10375)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the novel in an age of political turmoil: the decades following the French Revolution in 1789. The novel in this period stages a series of revolutions, revolutions of form and genre as well as in ideologies of gender and nation. The Romantic period is often understood through its poetry and attendant criticism, but novelists of the period were perhaps more clearly engaged in political debate and social reform. In this course, we will understand the novel in the context of shifting concepts of English and Scottish nationalism, of empire and of the histories of individuals and of nation-states.
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 Students MUST have passed: ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  24
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2500 word coursework essay (40%) submitted in week 9;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period at end of semester (60%).
Feedback Not entered
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

Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford 1993)
Charlotte Smith, Desmond (Broadview 2001)
William Godwin, Caleb Williams (Oxford 1982)
Mary Hays, Memoirs of Emma Courtney (Oxford 1996)
Elizabeth Hamilton, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (Broadview 2000)
Anon, The Woman of Colour (Broadview 2007)
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Oxford 2008)
Walter Scott, Guy Mannering (Penguin 2003)
James Hogg, Three Perils of Woman (Edinburgh 2010)


Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France (Penguin 1968)
Butler, Marilyn. Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries (Oxford 1981)
Castle, Terry. The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (Oxford 1995)
Clery, E.J. The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800 (Cambridge 1995)
Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (Yale 1992)
Davis, Leith. Acts of Union: Scotland and the Literary Negotiation of the British Nation, 1707-1830 (Stanford 1998)
Duncan, Ian. Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens (Cambridge 1992)
Duncan, Ian. Scott┐s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton 2007)
Fielding, Penny. Scotland and the Fictions of Geography (Cambridge 2008)
Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody's Story: The Vanishing Acts of Woman Writers in the Marketplace, 1670-1820 (University of California 1994)
Johnson, Claudia. Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel (Chicago 1988)
---. Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s. A Study of Wollstonecraft,Radcliffe, Burney, and Austen (Chicago 1995)
Keen, Paul. The Crisis of Literature in the 1790s: Print Culture and the Public Sphere (Cambridge 1999)
Kelly, Gary. English Fiction of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830 (Longman 1989)
---. Women, Writing, and Revolution 1790-1827 (Oxford 1993)
Klancher, Jon. The Making of English Reading Audiences 1790-1832 (University of Wisconsin 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 1981)
The Oxford History of the Novel in English. Vol 2: ┐English and British Fiction 1750-1820.┐ Ed. Peter Garside and Karen O┐Brien
Siskin, Clifford. The Work of Writing: Literature and Social Change in Britain, 1700-1830 (Johns Hopkins 1998)
St. Clair, William. The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge 2007)
Trumpener, Katie. Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton 1997)
Watson, Nicola. Revolution and the Form of the British Novel, 1790-1825: Intercepted Letters, Interrupted Seductions (Oxford 1994)
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Penguin 1982)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hours per week for 10 weeks;
plus attendance at Autonomous Learning Group for one hour each week - at time to be arranged
KeywordsNovel,Gender,Gothic,Nationality,Romantic Period,French Revolution
Course organiserDr Robert Irvine
Tel: (0131 6)50 3605
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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