This is an introductory course to the literature, history, and culture of the Romantic period, an epoch that saw at least four revolutions (American, French, Haitian, and Industrial). A time of renaissance and upheaval, it's an age essential to understanding our modern selves, one that gave us modern economics and chemistry, democracy and dictatorship, gothic melodrama and the cult of celebrity, special effects and the secret service. We'll read Jane Austen and Lord Byron, Thomas Paine and Ann Radcliffe, John Keats and Mary Shelley, among others. Along the way, we'll also cover the events that shaped the fiction, poetry, and drama of these turbulent years. Our aim will be to understand our readings both as texts in themselves (as responses to literary and cultural traditions) and as public statements (as responses to contemporary events and culture). Through a portfolio system incorporating revision, the course will also give students a chance to hone their critical writing and their research skills. Assignments will likely include responses, essays, and annotated bibliography.