Byromania: Romantic Literary Celebrity

Subject ENGL40018 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 170 hours across the semester, including class time.


Admission to honours or the postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma in English & theatre studies.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

ENGL40018 The Birth of Literary Celebrity. Previously available as 106-223 Romantic Literary Celebrity.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Clara Tuite


Clara Tuite

Subject Overview:

This subject examines celebrity as a new form of literary fame that emerges in the Romantic period. Focussing on the mad, bad and dangerous fame of Lord Byron, George Gordon, it engages “Byromania” as an exemplary form of celebrity as a new culture of productive reception. With the rapid expansion of literary markets from the late eighteenth century, literary works were no longer produced for a small audience of readers often known to the author, but across a distance for a vast, anonymous body known as the reading public. A radically altered relationship between writers and readers thereby created the conditions for the culture and economy of literary celebrity, which overcame this distance by forging new reading practices that established an intimacy between author and public. This subject explores these changing relations. Through a study of the scandalous celebrity of Byron and his contemporaries, and of the afterlives of Byronic celebrity, students will develop an understanding of how the author became not only the producer of a work but the owner of a personality, turned into a commodity and produced for public consumption, identification, imitation and even ritual humiliation. Against a background of theoretical readings on celebrity, publicity and authorship, students will examine the culture of literary celebrity across a range of genres, including lyric poetry, scandalous memoir, silverfork novel, roman à clef, satire and periodical reviews.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject successfully can expect to have acquired and to be able to utilize:

  • a first-hand acquaintance with a range of key Romantic-period literary texts;
  • an understanding of the relations between Romantic-period literature and the culture of celebrity; and
  • a critical awareness of the emergence of new markets, audiences and technologies in the Romantic period, and how these impacted upon the production of literature, the reading process, and the development of a culture of literary celebrity in the 19th century.


A 5000 word essay 100% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader including poetry by Lord Byron, periodical reviews, and theoretical and critical materials will be available.

  • W Godwin, Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
  • H James, The Aspern Papers.
  • C Lamb, Glenarvon.
  • JJ Rousseau, Confessions.
  • G de Staël, Corinne, or Italy.
  • O Wilde, De Profundis.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will have acquired skills in:

  • research through competent use of library, and other (including online) information sources. through the successful definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;
  • critical thinking and analysis through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the questioning of accepted wisdom and the ability to shape and strengthen persuasive judgments and arguments; through attention to detail in reading material; and through openness to new ideas and the development of critical self-awareness;
  • theoretical thinking through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through a productive engagement with relevant methodologies and paradigms in literary studies and the broader humanities;
  • creative thinking through essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the innovative conceptualising of problems and an appreciation of the role of creativity in critical analysis;
  • social, ethical and cultural understanding through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion. through the social contextualisation of arguments and judgments; through adaptations of knowledge to new situations and openness to new ideas; through the development of critical self-awareness in relation to an understanding of other cultures and practices;
  • intelligent and effective communication of knowledge and ideas through essay preparation, planning and writing as well as tutorial discussion; through effective dissemination of ideas from recommended reading and other relevant information sources. through clear definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research; through confidence to express ideas in public forums; and
  • time management and planning through the successful organization of workloads; through disciplined self-direction and the ability to meet deadlines.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English and Theatre
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
PC-ARTS English and Theatre Studies
PD-ARTS English and Theatre Studies

Download PDF version.