AMS-20064 - The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in Nineteenth Century American Literature
Coordinator: James H Peacock Room: CBB0.025 Tel: +44 1782 7 33140
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2019/20


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2019/20

This module analyses the major form of the American novel in the Nineteenth Century, defined as 'Romance' to distinguish it from the European novel which expresses itself predominantly in realistic form. Congruent with political and social ambitions for democracy, the 'Romance' suggests liberations of various kinds, principally a freedom from the constraints of too close an allegiance with the visible world, and as an alternative, proposes an arena of imaginative free-play which questions the seeming givens of that visibility. Here, the form is strongly bound up with providing alternative views and understandings of history.

The module introduces students to the work of some of the major canonical writers of the Nineteenth Century. These writers have often been said to work in the genre/tradition of the 'Romance', and the module seeks both to define that term and to analyse what ideas or literary strategies they held in common. In the work of post-WW2 literary critics, there has been an assumption that 'Romance' was primarily interested in questions of individual psychology; the module explores some of the ways in which 'Romance' forms may also be seen to be interested in questions of history.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

analyse and discuss the work of major canonical writers of American novels in the Nineteenth Century: 1,2,3
describe and evaluate basic features of mult-disciplinary scholarship (literary, historical and/or political) relating to study of the United States during the Nineteenth Century: 1,2,3
describe and analyse basic features of the social, historical, and political identity of the United States in the Nineteenth Century: 1,2,3
relate textual analysis to social, cultural and historical contexts: 1,2,3
employ the basic bibliographical, referencing, and presentation requirements of the core disciplines: 1,2,3
define the genre/tradition of the 'Romance' and analyse underlying ideas and literary strategies: 1,2,3

Study hours

11 x 1-hour lectures;
11 x 1-hour seminars;
11 x 4-hour seminar preparation;
34 hours assignment preparation;
48 hours exam preparation and private study
2 hours exam

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 30%
Exercise in close textual analysis of 1,000-1,500 words
Students will carry out a detailed close reading of an extract from one of the texts featured in the first few weeks of the module. Feedback will be given on the Short Paper (submitted in Week 7) in one-to-one sessions in Week 9.

2: Exam weighted 60%
End of Semester Exam
Unseen 2-hour examination, in which students will be required to answer two questions from a choice of ca. 10 concerning thematic issues on the module

3: Class Participation weighted 10%
Seminar participation
Assesses general quality of contributions, as well as teamwork and time management in seminars and workshops