English Literature MA

Romantic Ecologies ENGLIT4104

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will read 'ecologically' a range of writing from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries to ask how far engagements between nature and the human are determined by Romantic precepts, and how these might change in the context of contemporary environmental crisis. Students will use theoretical, historical, aesthetic and polemical writing on the natural world to examine and reflect on their own 'ecological' position by identifying issues of sustainability in literary texts and in our critical approaches to them.


1 x 2hr seminar per week over eight weeks, 2 x 2hr workshops, as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT4023  Romantic Ecologies


Essay (1700 words): 30%

Essay (3000 words): 50%

Seminar and workshop contribution: 5%

Seminar presentation of 7 minutes: 15%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. 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 for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore the significance of current critical debates around ecology to the study of literature in English

■ interrogate sustainability as a central feature of literary study

■ discuss ecology as a focus for the aesthetic and the material in literary texts

■ identify Romanticism as an ecological position and ecology as a conceptual continuity between texts of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ evaluate key positions in current ecocritical debates

■ critically reflect on sustainability as a feature of literary texts and as an imperative in literary study

■ analyse and contribute to a range of materialist and aesthetic debates raised by the issue of eco-poetics

■ evaluate Romanticism's contribution to subsequent understanding of the natural world

■ analyse different kinds of continuity between Romantic writers and their predecessors and descendants

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

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.