Reading the Environment: Old and New World Romanticisms DUMF5081

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course addresses the origins of modern environmental attitudes as they emerge out of the Romantic movements of the C18-C19 in both Britain and the USA. The course examines the ways in which environmental thought from this period contributes positively and negatively to modern Western environmental attitudes. Writers from Wordsworth and Clare to Thoreau and Emerson will be examined in addition to artists of the period. These texts will be used to investigate the emergence of an influential environmental consciousness from the C18 onwards.



3 contact hours per week, comprising of composite lecture-interactive seminar.

Online learning activities (using Moodle) will comprise at least a further two hours per week, and may include an online discussion topic, brief individual assignments, and readings in preparation for the following week's class.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Generic regulations apply

Recommended Entry Requirements

Excluded Courses







Completing seminar tasks orally - (10%)

Oral Presentation - (20%)

Production of one c 3000 word comparative essay focussing on two texts (40%)



Production of a c. 2000-2500 word document dealing either with contemporary examples of Romantic notions of place OR a piece of personal writing responding to, and reflecting on, a particular location, place or habitat (30%)



In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. For non honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students, and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions are listed below in this box.

Course Aims

■ To introduce students to the European and North American Romantic literary traditions

■ To allow students to analyse key Romantic texts in formation of modern thinking about the environment

■ To highlight the emergence of 'the environment' as a modern concept

■ To have students question the relationship of the individual to the environment in the C18-C19

■ To interrogate the ways in which Romantic notions persist in modern ideas about the environment

■ To enable students to communicate their ideas using a range of oral and written strategies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Describe the main features of European and North American Romanticism

■ Account for the formation and main features of environmental ideas in Romantic writing and art

■ Describe the varied relationships between the individual and the environment in the Romantic periods of literature in the UK and USA

■ Reflect upon the emergence of 'the environment' as a concept

■ Evaluate the positive and negative ways in which Romantic notions of the environment persist in the present

■ Communicate ideas and responses to environmental issues using a range of oral and written strategies.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend at least 75% of all classes.