The Romantic Period
This course will examine a selection of texts spanning the British Romantic era (roughly 1789 - 1832), investigating the possible meanings of “Romanticism,” and exploring the relationship between the literature of the period and the historical circumstances of its production. Paying close attention to conventions and innovations of poetic form, we will also aim to relate these writings to larger debates current in the period, on topics such as religion, nationalism, the language of poetry, English political responses to the French Revolution, the cult of Sensibility, gender, and the nature of the self. We will concentrate primarily on the six main canonical poets of British Romanticism--Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats--and the major female poets of the age: Anna Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Jane Taylor, and Felicia Hemans. Course requirements will include lively class participation, short response papers, two essays (5-7 pages), and a final exam.