English 121

: The Romantic Period

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2008 Langan, Celeste
Langan, Celeste
MWF 11-12 166 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Perkins, D.: English Romantic Writers; Shelley, M.: Frankenstein; Shelley, P.B.: The Cenci; a Course Reader


"In 1796, Samuel Taylor Coleridge published a poem in the Monthly Magazine with an odd subtitle: ""A Poem which affects not to be Poetry."" Why write a poem that doesn�t want to seem like a poem? Literature since that time has been in conversation with the experimental poetry of Coleridge and of the Romantic period. This course will focus on key Romantic writers and their experiments, to give some historical shape to the contested terms ""poem"" and ""Poetry."" Is a poem merely a peculiar form of information storage, as in ""thirty days hath September""? Or (as Shelley put it) ""the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth""? Why do so many writers of the period assign greater value to poetry, despite the increasing popularity of prose fiction? In what ways are their poetical experiments related to the ""great national events��the American and French Revolutions, and the rise both of industrial manufacture and global capital�that were transforming social relations? To answer these and other questions we will read the work of the six ""major"" poets (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats), as well as some popular prose fiction ( Frankenstein, The Monk) of the same period."

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