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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2006


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35740 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
MEZ 1.204

Course Description

This course seeks to understand Blake's and Coleridge's developing concepts of change and agency by exploring their evolving religious beliefs and political affiliations, primarily as these are reflected in their different approaches to poetic symbolism and allegory, and in their almost opposite conceptions of authorship. Blake's millennialist vision contrasts sharply with Coleridge's progressive, Whiggish idea of history. Yet the two men's views criss-cross in important ways, revealing broader contradictions and tensions in the age. A continuing concern will be Blake's and Coleridge's struggles to give narrative shape to that strange series of twists and reversals which constituted the French Revolution and its Napoleonic aftermath. Another theme will be the their different critiques of Lockean empirical psychology and metaphysics, and their complicated relation to the Locke-influenced political radicalism of the 1790s. 0ther topics of investigation include the development of their religious beliefs within the contexts of late 18th-century Rational Dissent and the revival of "enthusiastic" religion; prophecy and revelation as represented and transacted in the imagery and structures of their poetry, and the different conceptions of truth, culture, and tradition which their work conveys; their relation to the 18th-century Poets of Sensibility; Blake's development of an arcane yet ostensibly universal mythology, and Coleridge's corresponding abandonment of poetry for what he called "abstruse research;" Coleridge's life as a literary journalist and man of letters versus Blake's as a commercial engraver who produced his Illuminated Books without resorting to letterpress; and the reception history of the two men's work, then and now.



BLAKE: Mainly Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Milton, and portions of Jerusalem.

COLERIDGE: mainly "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Christabel," the several "conversation" poems, the Essay on Method, and Biographia Litereria.

WORDSWORTH: Preface to Lyrical Ballads and several shorter poems.


Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. David Erdman, 3rd ed. (Doubleday)

David Erdman, Blake: Prophet Against Empire, 3rd ed. (Doubleday, 1982; rpt. Dover Press)

Coleridge (Oxford Authors Edition), ed. J. R. Jackson

Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries (Oxford)

There will be a hefty packet of xeroxed materials available at Jenn's Copy at 2200 Guadelupe, lower level.


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