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Course Details


This module seeks to provide an understanding of Romantic literature in the two languages in the period 1770-1830. Through the comparative examination of selected texts, starting with the German ‘Sturm und Drang’ and culminating in the work of Byron and Heine, it will explore the central issues, themes and motifs of Romanticism.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module you should have:

1. Acquired an understanding of a number of important Romantic texts in both German and English.

2. Come to appreciate how Romanticism can be understood in a European context as embracing more than ‘die Romantik’, as it is customarily defined in German literary history.

3. Developed an ability to read texts comparatively and an awareness of the affinities and differences between the two literary cultures in this period.

4. Learned to identify the principal features of the Romantic sensibility.

5. Acquired an understanding of the issues, themes and motifs common to Romantic writing.

6. Acquired some grasp of the social, historical and political factors that have influenced Romantic writers.

Texts to Buy

These are predominantly German texts in cheap editions. The English poetic works that will be discussed, such as the Lyrical Ballads and Keats’s Lamia, can be found in good collections like The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2, or in collected editions of the particular poet’s work readily available in the library.

Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werther (Reclam)

______, Faust I (Reclam)

Schiller, Die Räuber (Reclam)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Penguin)

Kleist, Die Verlobung in St. Domingo (Reclam)

Scott, The Highland Widow (World’s Classics; if not in print, photocopies will be provided)

Chamisso, Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (Reclam)

Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (Penguin)

E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der goldene Topf (Reclam)

Eichendorff, Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (Reclam)

Fouqué, Undine (Reclam)


Teaching Methods

1. A weekly seminar of one-and-a-half hours.

2. An assessed essay of 5,000 words to be submitted in May.


Sections of the Module

1. Introduction and ‘Sturm und Drang’ (weeks 1-4)

2. Romanticism and Revolution (weeks 5-8)

3. Faust and Faustian figures (weeks 9-12)

4. Romantic Short Fiction (weeks 13-17)

5. Romantic Irony and Revision (weeks 18-23)


Module Requirements

1. Attend seminars, having read the prescribed texts.

2. Give short introductions to seminars if required.

3. Submit a 5,000 word essay in term 3.

4. Write a final examination of 3 hours.



1. Translation into English of a passage from one of the German set texts.

2. 2 essays chosen from about 10 questions. One of these essays must be on an English and one on a German text (or a comparative question involving texts in both languages).


Useful Background Reading

Aidan Day, Romanticism (1996)

Glyn Tegai Hughes, Romantic German Literature (1979)

Eudo C. Mason, Deutsche und Englische Romantik

Siegbert Prawe (ed.), The Romantic Period in Germany (1970)

René Wellek, ‘German and English Romanticism’ in Confrontations (1965)


Plan of the Module

Autumn Term


1 Introduction

2 Romantic Archetype I: Goethe, Werther

3 The New Poetry: Volkslieder and Lyrical Ballads

4 Sturm und Drang: Schiller, Die Räuber

5 Romanticism and Revolution I: Wordsworth, Prelude (excerpts)

Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy

7 Romanticism and Revolution II: Heine, Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen

8 History and Crisis: Scott, The Highland Widow

Kleist, Die Verlobung in St. Domingo

9 Romantic Archetype II: Goethe, Faust I

10 “ “

Spring Term

11 Faustian Figures I: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

12 Faustian Figures II: Chamisso, Peter Schlemihl

13 Allegory and Fairytale: Fouqué, Undine

Keats, Lamia

14 Romantic Doubling I: Hoffmann, Der goldene Topf

15 Romantic Doubling II: Hogg, The Confessions of a Justified Sinner

16 Reading Week

17 Romantic Longing: Eichendorff, Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts

18 Romantic Irony I: Heine

19 Romantic Irony II: Byron

20 The Italian Connection

Summer Term: Revision (3 sessions).