E 329L • Later Romantic Period 1815-1832-W
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
In the poets Keats, Percy Shelley, and Byron, in the essayists Hazlitt, Lamb, and DeQuincey, and in novelists such as Mary Shelley and James Hogg, early nineteenth-century Romanticism reaches its fullest and strangest flowering. This course concentrates on themes and developments in the work of the three major poets of this period, which runs roughly from Napoleon's defeat at the gates of Moscow in 1812 to the passage of the Reform Bill in 1832. In their poems and letters, we will examine Romantic concepts of self and self-consciousness, their roots in the "associationist" psychology of the period, and the transcendence of selfhood provided by the sublime, the supernatural, and by poetry itself. In the novels by Mary Shelley and Hogg, we will see how the authors employ a range of different, often conflicting styles of representation in order to question the received wisdom concerning God and man, nature and society - although their own moral and political views remain difficult to define. Of particular interest is the critical eye with which Keats, the Shelleys, and Byron regard their Romantic precursor, Wordsworth, and the idea of poetry as spontaneous self-expression; the uneasiness with which Keats and Hogg attempted to earn a living as professional authors by manipulating the taste of their polite middle-class readership; everybodys fascination with the flawed heroism of Napoleon, and the struggle of many writers to maintain a commitment to liberal reform, if not revolution, during an age of political reaction; and finally, the persistent anxiety that the Imaginations beautiful idealisms of moral excellence (as Percy Shelley called them) may be only delusion and escapism.
Three 4-5-page essays; two 2-3-page close-readings Attendance: The University requires you to attend all classes. If you do miss a class, you are responsible for finding out what went on that day, what assignments were given, what handouts were distributed, etc.
Keats: Selected Poems and Letters, ed. Douglas Bush (Houghton) Shelley's Poetry and Prose, ed. Donald Reiman and Sharon B. Powers (Norton) Byron, ed. Jerome McGann (Oxford Authors) Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, ed. Harold Bloom (NAL) James Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, ed. Wain (Penguin) Coleridge, ed. J. R. Jackson (Oxford Authors) Prose of the Romantic Period, ed. Carl Woodring (Houghton) Optional: Romanticism and Consciousness, ed. Harold Bloom (Norton)