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The Romantic Book

ENGL 2041.301
MW 3:30-4:59pm

This course makes the book itself an object of interpretation and a means for understanding literature of the Romantic Period. Rather than surveying a few poems by many writers, we will read 10 writers in depth. Most important, we will read them in the exact, published forms in which they were read and reviewed by their peers. How did authors and publishers compile, organize, and market books to a reading public? How is it different reading a poem, essay, or short story in the context of a larger collection instead of on its own? To answer these questions, we will thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the careers of each writer we read, with how their books were produced and reviewed, and with the contexts into which each book ventured into the world. This course will be a true seminar, in which we come to a table to discuss common interests and, through our discussions, come to more informed opinions -- and further interests. For that reason, do tell me if you have particular authors and interests in the Romantic Period (roughly 1770-1848) you wish to pursue. I plan to choose our course texts from the books below, and invite interested students to tell me their reading preferences: Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (1771); Anna Letitia Barbauld, Poems (1773); Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Sonnets (1784); Helen Maria Williams Poems (1786); Robert Burns, Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (1789); The British Album (1790); William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience (1789, 1794); an issue of The Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner (1797); Joanna Baillie, Plays on the Passions (1798); William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, with a few other Poems (1800); Mary Robinson, Lyrical Tales (1800); William Blake, Milton (1804); William Wordsworth, Poems, in Two Volumes (1807); Lord Byron, The Giaour (1813); Walter Scott, Waverley (1814); Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel, Kubla Khan, and the Pains of Sleep (1816); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound and other Poems (1820); John Keats, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and other Poems (1820); an issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine; Percy Shelley, Posthumous Poems (1824); Felicia Hemans, Records of Woman (1828); The Keepsake (1829); an issue of The Lady's Magazine (1830).


English Major Requirements
  • Literature Seminar pre-1900 (AEB9)
  • Sector 4 Long 18th Century (AE18)
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
English Concentration Attributes
College Attributes