01 TTH5 3:50-5:10 PM CAC 08249 GALPERIN FH-A1
This course will concentrate on several different types of British literature all written during the “Age of Revolution,” which began at the time of the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century and continued through the first three decades of the nineteenth century. The “Early Romantics”—William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge among them--were the first “modern” poets in their preoccupation with imagination and inwardness and in their commitment to social change, since what’s radical and different at this moment is the significance of individual persons and lives independent of class or origin. The writers who came after them—the Later Romantics—are equally important and their works take the Romantic project in significantly different directions. Poets such as Percy Shelley and Lord Byron doubled down on the radical or revolutionary initiatives embraced but later abandoned by their predecessors whereas John Keats—the greatest nineteenth-century poet in English--used the Romantic commitment to a poetry of self and mind as a sanction for a more refined lyric mode, whose influence continues to this day. And then there are the great novelists of the period--Jane Austen and Mary Shelley--whose works, including Shelley’s Frankenstein, provide a feminist perspective on many of these same developments. We will also read Thomas DeQuincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater for still another take, alternately critical, theoretical and at times satiric, on the Romantic movement overall. Writing of the Romantic period is one of the key turning points in literary history: literature finally turns inward; the novel rises to a level of “serious entertainment;” and the needs and aspirations of an increasingly literate society are being met daily by new forms of literary communication and the horizons they project.
Attendance in English 331 is required and will be monitored. Complications arise and students invariably miss some classes. However, four or more classes missed without an appropriate explanation are a problem.
Means of Evaluation: Written work and class participation. A midterm exam, a final exam and a final paper (8-10pp).