Department of English UG Module Directory (2020)

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Romantic Travellers in Europe

Level 6 (15 credits)

In both prose and poetry, in diaries, letters and fiction, many Romantic writers chronicled their travels on the European continent and their impressions of foreign customs and characteristics. This course will provide an intimate survey of this varied literature. Opening up questions such as whether pedestrian travel was an exciting allurement or a hard necessity, and to what extent travel offered release from social or familial constraints, discussion will address Romantic writers' self-fashioning in their travel narratives, and the roles of gender and class.

Preparing for this Module and Approximate Costs


1) Please purchase the following book and read it thoroughly in advance of seminar 8: Madame de Stael, Corinne, trans. by Sylvia Raphael (Oxford, 1998)

2) You will also need to obtain your own copy of the following: Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (recommended edition: ed. Paul Goring, Penguin Classics 2001)

3) Likewise Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, ed. Tone Brekke and John Mee (Oxford World's Classics 2009)

You are recommended to make a start on these longer works well in advance. 

For a helpful brief overview of the topic, see Patrick Vincent, 'British Romantics Abroad', in The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff (Oxford, 2018), 707-22

A useful work on the aesthetics of travel in this period is Cian Duffy, Landscapes of the Sublime 1700-1830: Classic Ground (2013).

Historical context will be important in this module. For a very brief introduction: Simon Bainbridge, 'The Historical Context', Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (Oxford, 2005), 15-26. 

For greater detail: Anthony Page, Britain and the Seventy Years War, 1744-1815: Enlightenment, Revolution and Empire (Basingstoke, 2015) and Franklin L. Ford, Europe 1780-1830 (London, 1989).

Primary texts costing up to £30

Learning Context Long Seminar
Semester 2

1. Short Essay (1,500 words), 30%
2. Critical Essay (3,000 words), 70%

Mode of reassessment Standard
Contact James Vigus