British Romantic Literature
Students will study major poetry and prose from the British Romantic era, 1789-1832 (objective one). In the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions, British writers engaged in radical literary experiments while envisioning alternative forms of society, selfhood, and art. We will discuss and research the ways in which Romantic literature draws attention to major cultural debates and developments, including but not limited to: the “rights of man” and revolution controversy; the movement to abolish the slave trade; the beginnings of modern feminism (objectives two and three)
We will read poetry, letters, journals, political essays, a play, and two novels. Authors will include Austen, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, M. Shelley, P.B. Shelley, Byron, Hemans, L.E.L., and Keats. Requirements include two close reading exercises and a research paper (objective four).
Schedule of Readings and Assignments
Week 1 Introduction
William Blake, “To Dr. John Trusler” (23 August 1799). You’ll find this in Longman on p. 209.
M.H. Abrams, “Neoclassic and Romantic” (Bb)
Week 2 Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (all selections in Longman)
Blake, Songs, cont’d.
Visit the Blake Archive to look at plates: http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/main.html
Blake, Songs, cont’d. Play with the “Contraries Machine”:
Week 3 Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and “Song of Liberty” (Bb)
Contexts: The Revolution Controversy in Britain
Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France
Mary Wollstonecraft, from Vindication of the Rights of Man
Thomas Paine, from The Rights of Man
Week 4 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Eolian Harp,” “Frost at Midnight,”
"This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison"
William Hazlitt, “My First Acquaintance With Poets”
Abrams, from “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric” (Bb)
Coleridge and Hazlitt, cont’d.
William Wordsworth, “I Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud”
Week 5 William Wordsworth, “Advertisement” to Lyrical Ballads, 1798 (Bb)
From Lyrical Ballads: “We are Seven,” “Anecdote for Fathers,” “Lines Written In Early
Spring,” “The Thorn” (with “Note”), “Expostulation and Reply,” “The Tables Turned,” ”Simon Lee,” “Old Man Travelling”
Anon., “The Beggar’s Petition” (Bb)
Browse the Lyrical Ballads Project Website ( http://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/LB/ ) for a
sense of what the 1798 edition looked like.
***Close Reading Exercise #1 due today by 5 p.m.
Week 6 William Wordsworth, “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”
“Preface” to Lyrical Ballads, 1800, 1802 (excerpts in Longman)
[Revisit “Frost at Midnight” and “This Lime Tree Bower My Prison”]
Coleridge, excerpt from The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, in Seven Parts
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (in its entirety), excerpts from Table Talk and Biographia Literaria Chapters 11, 13 and 14, and “Kubla Khan”
Week 7 The Prelude (1805), Books One and Two (as excerpted in Longman)
Contexts: The Slave Trade and Abolitionism
James Thomson, “Rule, Britannia!” (Bb)
Thomas Bellamy, The Benevolent Planters
Hannah More, “The Sorrows of Yamba”
William Cowper, “The Negro’s Complaint,” “Sweet Meat Has Sour Sauce,” “Pity for
Poor Africans” (Bb), “The Morning Dream” (Bb)
Thomas Clarkson, from The History of the Rise, Progress, & Accomplishment of the
Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the British Parliament
William Wordsworth, “To Toussaint l’Overture”
[Revisit Blake, “The Little Black Boy”]
Week 8 Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Charlotte Smith, from Elegiac Sonnets (poems TBA)
Mary Robinson, from Lyrical Tales (poems TBA)
Introduction: The Later Romantics
Wordsworth, “London, 1802”
Percy Shelley, "To Wordsworth," “Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte”
Lord Byron, "Dedication" to Don Juan
“Manfred and Its Time”: Byron’s Earlier Heroes (section in Longman)
Felicia Hemans, “To Wordsworth”
John Keats, Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 3 February 1818
***Close Reading Exercise #2 due by Wednesday 3/14 at 5 p.m. Byron, Manfred, A Dramatic Poem
Week 9 P.B. Shelley: “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” “Mont Blanc,” “Ode to the West Wind,”
“England in 1819”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) (Volume I)
Week 10 Frankenstein (Volume II)
Mary Shelley’s Introduction” to the 1831 edition (pp. 186-191)
Frankenstein (Volume III)
Anne Mellor, "Possessing Nature: the Female in Frankenstein" (Bb)
Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare (1781) (Bb)
Week 11 Felicia Hemans, “The Bride of the Greek Isle,” “The Indian Woman’s Death Song,”
"The Sicilian Captive"
Letitia Landon, “Verses” (and commentary), “When should lovers breathe their vows,”
“A Child Screening a Dove from a Hawk,” Song: Where, oh where’s the chain to
fling,” “Lines of Life” (all on Bb or the following website)
Browse The Keepsake of 1829, online at “Romantic Circles”:
Jane Austen, Persuasion 1-54
Research Prospectus Due Fri. 4/6 by 5 p.m.
Week 12-14 Persuasion 54-115
John Keats, Letters (TBA)
Week 15 John Keats, “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer” (with introductory and companion
readings), “Sonnet: When I have Fears,” “On sitting down to read King Lear once again”
J.G. Lockhart, “On the Cockney School of Poetry,” “The Cockney School of Poetry”
Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes,” "La Belle Dame sans Merci" (Bb), “Ode on a Grecian
Urn,” “To Autumn,” Letters (TBA)
Research Paper due Thurs. May 3 by 4 p.m.