04:30 PM to 07:10 PM T
Innovation Hall 134
Section Information for Fall 2023
Though the Romantic era in England is usually defined as running from roughly 1780 to 1830, the cultural developments of the period were of such significance and influence that many argue we are still living in a “Romantic age.” Amid revolutions abroad, social unrest at home, massive technological and economic shifts, and new ideas about the nature of the self and about the rights of men and women, the writers we’ll study in this course saw the world changing with an unprecedented pace, and felt alternately exhilarated, terrified, enraged and amused by the changes they witnessed. We’ll look at how Romantic writers’ experiments in poetic form respond to these social and historical contexts and also address more intimate concerns of love and loss, memory and desire. We will read some of the most provocative, most lasting, and most exciting poetry of the period, along with some prose writing of the period that is also representative of the period’s concerns, including at least one novel. We’ll explore how writers of the era engage a range of topics including the nature of selfhood and forms of community; gender and sexuality; domestic life in wartime; the role and responsibility of the writer in relation to social change; ecological crisis and environmental awareness; race and slavery in the Atlantic world; empire and colonialism; ideas of citizenship, rights, belonging, and freedom; childhood, imagination and dream.
By the end of the course, you will have gained familiarity with a range of Romantic-era literary works, especially but hardly limited to poetry, and you will have gained familiarity as well with key issues in Romantic-era culture that continue to have resonance in our own day. You will be able to discuss and write about poetry and literature generally with greater confidence.