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Romanticism Module, Spring 2003

This page contains the assignments from the Romanticism module "Revolution and Romanticism" with links to the online readings and to supporting materials.

Monday, January 20

First day: introductions and course outline.

Wednesday, January 22

  • "The Romantics and Their Contemporaries" (anthology 2)

    • To see a sampling of recent critical work on Romanticism indexed by topic, you can look at the Romantic Circles Praxis series.

In class today, I will give a broad introduction to Romanticism and explain how the texts we will read fit into the big picture. I will leave time for questions about the reading, so prepare one or two of those in advance.

Also, please go to the class discussion board and write a solid paragraph or two introducing yourself to the class. Aside from the obvious introductory function of this assignment, it also ensures that we deal with any technical problems before the responses begin.

Friday, January 24

  • All readings from "Perspectives: The Rights of Man and the Revolution Controversy" (anthology 56)

Group I Response: Use your response to discuss one or more rhetorical or metaphorical devices you see more than one writer employing in the readings. In other words, try to get at the literary side of these explicitly political texts.

Monday, January 27

  • William Wordsworth, Preface (anthology 356), "The Thorn" (anthology 343), and "Note to the Thorn" (anthology 348) from Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800)

Group II Response: Discuss either a) Wordsworth's use of multiple voices in "The Thorn" or b) something about the poem's relation to the ideas Wordsworth sets out in his famous Preface.

Wednesday, January 29

  • Wordsworth, "Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey" (352) and "Old Man Travelling" (351) from Lyrical Ballads (1798)

Group III Response: Use the response to focus on a short passage (no more than ten lines) of either poem. Take a stab, at least, at using that bit of text to point to a broader point about the poem or Wordsworth's approach more generally.

Friday, January 31

  • Selections from M.H. Abrams, "Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric" (1965) and Marjorie Levinson, "Insight and Oversight: Reading 'Tintern Abbey'" (1986), handout.

Group IV Response: Choose a point of comparison between Abrams and Levinson that lets you discuss not only their different readings of Wordsworth but also the way they value different things when they examine poetry.

Monday, February 3

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1817 version, anthology 528) and the 1798 excerpt for comparison (anthology 526) from Lyrical Ballads

Group V Response: This one is optional, in that you can choose to make it an "open response" if you like. Consider the place of this poem in the 1798 Lyrical Ballads, in which it opened the volume that "Tintern Abbey" closed, with poems such as "The Thorn" in between. What kind of progression might the volume have been constructing?

Wednesday, February 5

Group VI Response: Discuss any way in which this poem represents a departure from what you have seen of Lyrical Ballads.

Friday, February 7

Group I Response: open response.

Monday, February 10

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, from A Defence of Poetry (1821, anthology 800)

Group II Response: open response.

Wednesday, February 12

  • Shelley, "Mont Blanc" (1817, anthology 754) and "Sonnet: England in 1819" (1819, anthology 761)

Group III Response: open response.

Friday, February 14


  • George Gordon, Lord Byron, Dedication (1819, anthology 668), Canto I (1819, anthology 672) and excerpt from Canto VII (1823, anthology 741) of Don Juan and "Prometheus" (1816, Frankenstein edition 286).

Group IV Response: open response.

Monday, February 17

  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818): Wolfson's introduction, the Preface, and Volume I.

    • This novel has attracted a lot of attention on the Net. Georgetown professor Martin Irvine's page is a good starting point.

Group V Response: open response.

Wednesday, February 19

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, Volume II

Group VI Response: open response.

Friday, February 21

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, Volume III

Group I Response: Looking back at the first two sets of responses on Frankenstein, continue a line of thinking that someone else introduced. What happens in the last volume to develop or transform an element of the text we noticed earlier?

Monday, February 24


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