English 246G

Romantic Period

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2020 Langan, Celeste
TTh 2-3:30 186 Barrows


This course on the Romantic “period” will consider periods of time as they are imagined, experienced, or enacted in some characteristic genres: song, prophecy, lyrical ballad, romance, letter, fragment, travel journal, periodical review, historical novel, science fiction. At once naming an interval and its end, the concept of the period seems broad enough to allow attention to any number of issues that may be of interest, from verbal forms of repetition (rhyme, refrain, parody, citation) to the “period” of the working day or of fossil capitalism.  How do Romantic writers understand time’s periodicity—crisis, recurrence, afterwardsness, ephemerality, revolution, wartime, deep time?  Reading origin stories and accounts of last minstrels and last men, we’ll also consider the temporality of reading.  Depending on time and interest, we may also take the many references of Romantic writers to time as judge as a remit to consider the temporality of the trial in its relation to action and decision.  (Since April 7 will be the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, we’ll pay some attention to The Prelude as well.)

Students will be responsible for one short paper (3-4 pages) to be circulated for discussion and a final paper (15 pages).

Book List:  Austen, J., Persuasion or Emma; Blake, W. Complete Poetry and Prose; Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France;  Byron, Lord Byron: The Major Works; Coleridge, S.T., Major Works; Godwin, W., Caleb Williams; Enquiry Concerning Political Justice;  Keats, J. Major Works; Scott, W., Waverley; Shelley, M., The Last Man; Shelley, P.B., Shelley's Poetry and Prose; Williams, H.M., Letters from France; Wordsworth, D., Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals; Wordsworth, W., The Prelude.

Other Readings and Media:  H. v. Kleist, “On the Gradual Production of Thoughts While Speaking”; J.J. Rousseau, Essay on the Origin of Languages; W. Hone [?] Don Juan  Canto the Third;  possibly essays by H. Arendt, W. Benjamin, P. de Man, F. Kittler, J. Lacan, P. Lacoue-Labarthe, J.-L. Nancy, M. Postone, and others. 

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