ENG32670 Dark Romanticism

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module considers British Romanticism’s preoccupation with sexuality, criminality, and subversion from a variety of literary, historical, philosophical, and medical perspectives. It examines themes and subjects such as drug addiction, murder, madness, pornography, fanaticism, cannibalism, and monstrosity, as well as considering figures such as the demon, the femme fatale, the uncanny double, the vampire, the monster, and Satan. The module includes examinations of key Romantic texts including Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Percy Shelley’s The Cenci, as well as a range of lesser known texts that engage with relevant themes. In each case, we will use theoretical frameworks from queer theory and disability studies to gender studies and critical race theory to consider how Romantic-era texts offer important contributions to the development and history of non-normative identities and subjectivities.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students will have developed:

1. A revised understanding of British Romanticism that emphasises its engagement with the sexual body and its resistance to normative social codes;
2. An awareness of how Romantic-era texts reflect changing social, cultural, and political contexts;
3. An ability to apply a range of critical and theoretical perspectives, from medical humanities to theories of sexuality, to the analysis of Romantic texts;
4. A familiarity with a range of lesser known Romantic-era forms and genres such as confessions and drama.

Indicative Module Content:

Students will examine Gothic novels by Mathew Lewis, Charlotte Dacre, and Charles Maturin, as well as psychological novels and dramas by William Godwin and Percy Shelley, and confessions by Thomas De Quincey, James Hogg, and others. Students will engage with a number of writers and texts they might not previously have known of or read. They will also engage with a wide range of critical and theoretical approaches from queer and postcolonial theory to gender, race and disability studies. Students will be expected to move beyond conventional approaches to Romanticism (i.e. Romantic nature, the Romantic genius, the lyric form) towards non-normative identities and subjectivities. Some topics covered may be difficult for some students, including drug addiction, incest, and murder.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In-class discussion
Independent reading
Reports on critical sources
Bibliographical skills

Please note that this information is subject to change in the event of online learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Portfolio: Includes detailed essay plan, detailed bibliography, and summaries of at least two relevant critical articles. This exercise will assist in preparation for the final essay. Week 11 n/a Graded No


Essay: Research essay offering a detailed and convincing argument. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Weekly contribution in seminars and worksheets Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 12:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 14:00 - 15:50