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Romantic Literature: Public and Private Voices

ENGL 450.601
instructor(s):

In this course we will examine the tension and interaction between romanticism's ambitious social and political agenda and the strong personal, sometimes mystical tendency of romantic art. To develop this theme, we will try to ground romanticism in historical context. We will study the parallel rise of women's writing and of popular (working class) writing in the same period. We will read major British writers in the Romantic period and beyond, including several pairs: William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Percy and Mary Shelley, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; we may also give time to William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Lord Byron and William Butler Yeats. This is an advanced level course that will be most accessible to students who have already had some exposure to romantic literature. Students will do class presentations and a term paper.