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Gothicism and Romanticism

ENGL 550.301
TR 12-3

This course will explore the cultural context in which the so-called Romantic Movement prospered, and will pay special attention to the relationship between the most notorious popular genres of the period (Gothic fiction and drama) and the poetic production of both canonical and emerging poets.  Most fundamentally, this course will  address the question of why, given the preponderance of gothic motifs in Romantic poetry, has the gothicism of this poetry remained largely unexplored territory in modern critical accounts of Romanticism.  In confronting this question, we will be exploring issues of  canonization, and of how culture is constituted, marketed, disseminated, and defined. Consequently, we will explore not only canonical texts like Coleridge's
Christabel and Cantos 11-16 of Byron's Don Juan, but also lesser-known texts like Scott's Doom of Devorgoil and Baillie's Orra.  The course will utilize theoretical, contextual, and primary source materials.  In order to establish a foundation for exploring the relation of romantic and gothic, we will be examining selected theoretical essays on genre and culture (Jameson and Jauss), and several gothic texts and popular reviews of these texts (Lewis, Radcliffe, and the responses to them).  I will be requiring weekly response papers from you, as well as a final paper.