From the Industrial Revolution to the Napoleonic Wars, the Romantic period was characterized by enormous social and political transformation. An age of “total war” and social critique, slavery and abolition, imperial expansion and anti-colonial resistance, this period saw three major revolutions—in America, France, and Haiti—and a number of less-remembered uprisings in locations around the world from Virginia to Jamaica, Ireland to Sierra Leone. This course surveys a range of Romantic literatures that were shaped by, and responded to, the turbulent events of their time. As we read texts by authors such as Mary Shelley, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Jane Austen, we will ponder the links between literary experimentation and socio-political change, paying careful attention to how each of our texts crafts (or conceals) political claims through language and literary form.
Assignments will include an oral presentation, two short response papers, and a longer final paper.
KEYWORDS: Total War, Poetry, Revolution, Fiction, Transatlantic, Slavery