E426 – British Romanticism

Credit Hours:
3

Course Level:
Undergraduate

Semesters Offered:
Fall

Prerequisite: E 276 or E 277 or E 341.

Description: Students will read and engage with a broad range of works that belong to the period defined as British Romanticism (1780s-1830s). Our guiding focus will be the intersection of Romantic aesthetics and literary imagination with a dynamic and dramatic socio-political context: an age responding to the American and French Revolutions and then the conservatism of Georgian Britain, the beginnings of the industrial revolution, the rise of an urban working class, a consumer-oriented marketplace, the emergence of a national consciousness at home in the wake of the consolidation of British power abroad, and the rigidification of sex and gender roles. The material will be organized around a number of topics (which could fluctuate from semester to semester) that will allow students to see those issue mediated through the possibilities and constraints of genre, gender, real and imagined audiences, and sociopolitical context. Thus, as we move away from defining Romanticism through a survey of the traditional major five authors, we will also consider the advantages and disadvantages of periodization and the critical debates about what “Romanticism” is. The themes during any one semester could include but are not limited to: the French Revolution, the Romantic sublime, the gothic, the rights of man, the rights of woman, Romantic autobiography, homelessness and vagrancy, slavery and abolition in Britain, social and political economies, the creation of childhood, the discovery of nature, the rise of the supernatural, literary criticism, and romantic passions and irrationalism.

Students will read and engage with a broad range of works that belong to the period defined as British Romanticism (1780s-1830s). Our guiding focus will be the intersection of Romantic aesthetics and literary imagination with a dynamic and dramatic socio-political context: an age responding to the American and French Revolutions and then the conservatism of Georgian Britain, the beginnings of the industrial revolution, the rise of an urban working class, a consumer-oriented marketplace, the emergence of a national consciousness at home in the wake of the consolidation of British power abroad, and the rigidification of sex and gender roles. The material will be organized around a number of topics (which could fluctuate from semester to semester) that will allow students to see those issue mediated through the possibilities and constraints of genre, gender, real and imagined audiences, and sociopolitical context. Thus, as we move away from defining Romanticism through a survey of the traditional major five authors, we will also consider the advantages and disadvantages of periodization and the critical debates about what “Romanticism” is. The themes during any one semester could include but are not limited to: the French Revolution, the Romantic sublime, the gothic, the rights of man, the rights of woman, Romantic autobiography, homelessness and vagrancy, slavery and abolition in Britain, social and political economies, the creation of childhood, the discovery of nature, the rise of the supernatural, literary criticism, and romantic passions and irrationalism.