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    Department of English and Related Literature Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    History & Archaeology

    Languages, Literature & Culture

  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full time, 2 years part time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Annual tuition fees for 2019/20:
    Full-time (1 year): £7,810 for H/EU students/£17,370 for International students.
    Part-time (2 years): £3,905 (H/EU students) only.
    Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

  • Last Updated

    08 January 2019

MA in Literature of the Romantic Period, 1775-1832

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries have often been associated with flourishing of Romanticism, but recent critical and historical scholarship has emphasized the range and diversity of contemporary literary forms and styles of writing which cannot comfortably be treated as though they were part of a single movement. The MA in Literature of the Romantic Period, 1775-1832 investigates the cultural meanings and associations of the variety of styles and genres in which Romantic writing was produced. By examining the selected literary and aesthetic works in the light of the historical circumstances in which they were produced, the MA offers participants the chance to develop a broad view of the major changes in sensibility and ideology of the period, and to investigate such contemporary issues as:

  • Accounts of revolution
  • The place of women writers
  • The role of periodicals as a cultural medium
  • The importance of ideas of Empire and the Orient
  • The representation of landscape
  • Romantic aesthetic theory and poetic practice

By engaging broadly with a range of writing produced in the Romantic period, this MA offers students an opportunity to find their own paths through the literary and cultural history of the period.


Core Module: Romantic Texts and Contexts

This module introduces students to key voices and themes of the Romantic period. It is team-taught by scholars who specialize in the field and examines some of the literary conversations and debates that shape this age of revolution and innovation. Key critical reading is recommended each week to help students to gain a sense of current critical perspectives on literature of the Romantic period, and students are encouraged to read closely and think reflectively, developing their own critique of individual texts and an awareness of the politics of language and genre. In recent years, students have explored thematic topics such as nature, liberty, and slavery; accounts of the city in the Romantic period; and the political debates of the 1790s, and have studied authors such as Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, John Keats, William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley.

Option Modules: In addition to the core module, students take three option modules.

Offerings vary from year to year, and have recently included:

Literature, Medicine, Metropolis, 1780-1850

From Wollstonecraft to Austen: Femininity and Literary Culture

Representing the City, 1750-1850

Literature, Science, and Revolution: Electricity from Franklin to Frankenstein

The Villains of Romantic Gothic

Students can also choose from options outside the period offered by the English Department, and from interdisciplinary options, such as those offered by the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.

In addition, all students undertake the department’s Postgraduate Life in Practice modules, which teaches core skills in research, writing, presentation, and career development.


Staff contributing to the delivery of the MA include:

Mary Fairclough

Emma Major

Jon Mee

Alison O’Byrne

Deborah Russell

Gillian Russell

Jim Watt

Chloe Wigston-Smith

For details of individual staff research interests, please see

Programme Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Analyse significant literary and cultural texts from the Romantic period in the context of the social, political, economic, and/or aesthetic contexts in which they were produced
  • Evaluate and contribute to scholarly debates around Romantic-era literary and cultural production
  • Initiate, conduct, and take responsibility for independent research
  • Communicate sophisticated written arguments in a clear, accurate, and persuasive fashion
  • Engage in verbal discussion of complex textual material
  • Direct their own development, bringing new knowledge and skills to bear upon a range of contexts


Four assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each, one for the Core Module and one for each of the three Option Modules

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Life in Practice tasks (pass/fail)

A 14,000-16,000 word dissertation, written in consultation with a supervisor on an agreed topic


We have an excellent employment record for our postgraduates who are highly prized by top level employers, both in the UK and on the international stage. A combination of outstanding teaching and a supportive collegiate environment enable our students to develop their creativity, intellectual independence and ability to filter complex information and present it persuasively in person and in writing. These areimportant transferable skills which will always hold their value at the top end of the jobs market.

Further Information

For more information on the MA, please see

Visit the Literature of the Romantic Period, 1775-1832 - MA page on the University of York website for more details!





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Recipient: University of York

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