English 121

The Romantic Period

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2015 Langan, Celeste
TTh 11-12:30 130 Wheeler

Book List

Austen, J.: Persuasion; Blake, W.: Blake's Poetry and Designs; Byron: Major Works; Coleridge, S. T.: Major Works; Godwin, W.: Caleb Williams; Keats, J.: Major Works; Shelley, M.W.G.: Frankenstein; Shelley, P.B.: Major Works; Wordsworth, W.: Major Works


This course will look with wild surmise at the event of Romanticism.  What happened to literature between 1789 and 1830?  Is it true, as some critics have claimed, that Romantic writers revolutionized the concept of literature?  What is the relation between Romantic writing and the signal historical and social events of the period: the political revolutions of the late eighteenth century, the Napoleonic wars, the rise of finance capitalism, the dominion of “the news”?  With so much “happening” on the level of world history, why do Romantic writers sometimes turn to the past, to the provinces, to the everyday? Why, given the increased popularity of the novel, do so many writers turn to poetry-- to evoke nostalgia for the past or to forge an aesthetic avant-garde?  Through extensive reading of major poets (Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, and Keats), novelists (Godwin, Austen, Mary Shelley) and essayists (Lamb, Hazlitt, Burke, Paine) we will explore the event of Romanticism by examining literary events.  What “happens” in Romantic texts:  how do they understand origins, events, and effects?  

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