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

Spring 2007

E 329L • The Later Romantic Period, 1815-1832

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34515 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
HRH 3.102A

Course Description

This course will examine the rich and variegated tapestry of British literature in the second and third decades of the nineteenth century, a time when the vital species of literary activity we call "Romantic" generated intense new strains of thought and language. Beginning at the outset of the Regency period, when the madness of King George III left the government to the dissolute prince of Wales, and Lord Byron's conquest of the literary scene inaugurated a whole new mode of literary celebrity, we will read works published up through 1832, when the passage of the first Reform Bill and the death of Walter Scott arguably marked the end of the Romantic era.

Main themes will include the public role of late Romantic literature, especially its representation of the history and situation of the British nation (or nations); the struggles of the second generation of Romantics to move out of the shadow of their precursors, especially Wordsworth; and the ethical ambitions and anxieties that writers of the period entertained about the power of their works to reflect and change the world.

More fundamentally, the course will inculcate advanced skills for literary interpretation. We will review terms and techniques for analyzing poetry, fiction, and criticism, covering (among other topics) metric scansion, orders of figuration, several kinds of genre distinctions, and various narratological concepts. As we learn to use these tools, we will stay focused on concrete questions. What does it mean to experience literature viscerally, "proved," as Keats said it ought to be, "upon the pulse?" How did the Romantics enmesh bodies and minds within the weave of literary texts? How can we?

Grading Policy

Attendance, participation, three 5-page papers, assorted writing exercises, and a final exam.


M.H. Abrams and Jack Stillinger, et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2A: The Romantic Period
Walter Scott, Rob Roy (Penguin)
Jane Austen, Persuasion (OUP)
George Gordon, Lord Byron, Major Works (OUP)


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