This course will approach male and female poets of the late 18th/early 19th centuries by way of themes central to the period. This method can reveal readings and connections that may not be obvious in a chronological examination, and it encourages an awareness of the variety of 'British Romanticisms'.
The works of marginalised authors (such as John Clare and James Hogg) will complement those of major poets. Assigned reading will include works by Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Burns, Shelley, Barbauld, Hemens, Robinson and Smith. However, the course writing requirements allow for exploration of other writers.
The poetry and poets will be studied in the context of topics: these may include revolution (France and America), visual arts and aesthetics, the self and other (including India, Africa and slavery), Scotland and Ireland, the supernatural, imagination and drugs, town and country, literary theory and criticism, women and education, and the novel. Particular interests of students may be accommodated. Secondary reading will consist of selections from prose works and pamphlets of the period. These will illuminate the history and economic situations behind the poems.
The class will be run on an interactive basis. Evidence of reading and class participation is noted, and will influence final grade. The writing for the course consists of a portfolio of papers, amounting to 30-35 pages in total. This gives the opportunity to write shorter papers, or develop particular interests in more depth. Suggestions for essay titles will be provided, but alternative titles can be discussed first with the instructor. The only non-flexible course requirements are attendance, and the final hand-in date for the portfolio (near the end of term). No final examination.