Caspar David Friedrich, “The Life Stages,” c. 1834

English 6500 meets on Tuesdays from 12:30 until 3:15 in Park Hall 251. My office hours are on Thursdays from 1:30-3:30, and by appointment in Park Hall 240.

English 6500 is an introduction to the poetry, prose, and fiction of the British Romantic Period (1789-1830). Writers working during this literary era include William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, John Keats, and the Shelleys. In terms of our primary texts, we will have a twofold focus, moving from an analysis of poetic and novelistic form to a consideration of its historical production. How were the essays, poems, plays, and novels of the Romantics shaped by events of the day — events that included the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars? More importantly, perhaps, we will explore the ways in which Romantic-era authors sought to shape history through their art. After all, Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that poets were the “unacknowledged legislators of the World.” Throughout the semester we will be examining what Romantic-era authors hoped to “legislate” through their writing. A survey of Romanticism also offers us the opportunity to consider larger questions of periodization (“What is Romanticism?”), canon formation, and the history of lyric poetry.

Course Requirements

Required Texts

Romanticism Bibliography: Works that are on reserve this semester are indicated on this bibliography. Dr. LeGette and I give all students taking exams in the Romantic period this list so it is meant to be fairly comprehensive, although it doesn’t list the secondary criticism on all writers. As the semester evolves, I’ll be adding specific materials to the document.

Our Aspirational Course Schedule