Core Module Information
Module title: Unacknowledged Legislators: Poets in History and Society

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP09126
Module leader: Scott Lyall
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Humanities

Any SCQF 8 module in literature, film, photography, cultural studies, sociology or psychology.

Description of module content:

In his essay ‘The Defence of Poetry’, P. B. Shelley famously described poets as ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the World’. In this module you will examine Shelley’s claim by looking at a range of poets (some in translation), from Shelley’s own Romantic period to the present-day. You will examine the contexts in which various poets were working, such as particular national contexts - for instance, W. B. Yeats in Ireland - and ask various questions, such as: What cultural, artistic, and political aims did these poets have? How successful were they in changing their society? What uses does poetry have or serve? How has the role and figure of the poet changed in history from the Romantic period up to the present? And how do you view Shelley’s claim now, in our own post-Romantic era?

This module will enable you to read and critically analyse a variety of poems and engage with poetry from the Romantic era to the present. You will become familiar with public debates on poetry in the ‘voices’ of poets across two centuries. You will study poets in their particular contexts, and analyse their political, cultural and artistic aims. The module will introduce you to well-known poets and to lesser known names, to illustrate the ‘politics’ of the ‘public sphere’. Movements like that of Romanticism and Modernism will form a backdrop to our analysis of various poets and their work.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: read and stylistically analyse a range of poetic forms
LO2: critically reflect on the text in its context and the figure of the poet
LO3: demonstrate an understanding of the processes of anthologisation and canonisation
LO4: examine and apply critiques and theories to poetry
LO5: demonstrate an ability to work both independently and as part of a group

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Scott Lyall
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
I would like each week to have three different yet related parts to the three-hour class.
In part one, we will sit down together and discuss our responses to the week’s reading (LOs 1,2,5). This may take around half an hour, or may take up to an hour depending on how fruitful the discussion proves to be. I would hope we will discuss the poems in relation to ideas, but our aesthetic and emotional responses to them are also important and worth sharing. While I will guide the discussion, I will not impose my own ideas or the give the ‘right answer’ as to what any one poem is about. Poetry is often more metaphorical and symbolical than, say, the novel. This means that it is often open to nuanced interpretation: there may be no wrong or right answer. Therefore, your own response to the poem is a crucial starting-point in any critical interpretation. Each week I will pick out certain focus poems (marked out in each week’s readings) that will be the focus of the discussion, although we may not have time to discuss all of these poems.
After a break, in part two, I’ll give a lecture, probably for around an hour, focussing on the poet/s we are reading that week and the particular historical contexts that are arguably most relevant to an understanding of their work. At the end of the lecture, I will ask you to write down three main points that you took from the lecture for further discussion in the tutorial (LOs 2,4,5). This can include aspects of the lecture that helped advance your understanding, or points that remained unclear.
After another break, in part three, the final hour of the class, we will have a tutorial in which we will begin by discussing those key lecture points. If there remains enough time, I will then provide questions that students can discuss with their peers (LOs 1,2,3,4,5).

Formative Assessment:
At the end of the lecture, I will ask students to write down three main points that they took from the lecture for further discussion in the tutorial (LOs 2,4,5). This can include aspects of the lecture that helped advance their understanding, or points that remained unclear.
Students will also have the option for tutor feed-forward on a draft of the essay’s abstract (of around 200 words) in week 11, before the final summative essay to be submitted in week 12.

Summative Assessment:
There are two summative assessments on this module: a 1500 word essay (LOs 1,2,4,5), worth 40% of the module total, and a 2500 word essay (LOs 1,2,3,4,5), worth 60% of the module total.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Tutorial 10
Face To Face Lecture 20
Independent Learning Guided independent study 170
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 40 1,2,4,5 6 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Essay 60 1-5 12 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
CLP09126 Unacknowledged Legislators: Poets in History and Society