REE 325 • Classic To Romantic
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
Treating a fin-de-siêcle twilight not unlike our own, this course will seek to situate the art and literature of the English Romantics within the social, political, and aesthetic contexts of both Classicism and international Romanticism. We will look at the fine arts, especially painting and music, as well as the literary texts of the period. Dissatisfied with the neo-classical aesthetics and politics of Pope, Johnson, and Reynolds, even in the eighteenth century Blake in England and Diderot in France were already testing the Romantic waters. Rousseau and German Romanticism set fire to the already growing fascination with new philosophies of mind, nature, government, the sublime, and the soul and initiated the two great waves of Romanticism in England. We will read the English texts of Classicism, Sentimentalism, and Romanticism and pursue through them the seductive thread of the graveyard school of poetry and the role of gothic horror which inspire much of the period's production and culminate in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein. We will also explore the continental analogs such as Novalis, Schiller, and Karamzin who resonate within, and are sometimes even plagiarized by, the English authors. Finally, we shall not deny ourselves the full pleasure of the English Romantics themselves, especially Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and Shelley.
15 minute oral report (15%) Short essay, 5 pages, for which a topic will be suggested (25%) Longer essay, 10 pages, on a topic of the student's choice (35%) A third assignment which may involve creative writing, performance or a collaboration between students, or may be a short essay, 5 pages (25%)