English 179: British Romantic Writers

Instructor: James Donelan
Class Meetings: MWF 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM Phelps 2516
Course Number: 48645
Office: 1319 Girvetz Hall
Office Hours: MT, 10:00-11:00
Email: donelan@english.ucsb.edu

Course Description:
Between 1780 and 1830, British writers either confronted the extraordinary historical events of the time with radical political writings or retreated into nature, aestheticism, and subjectivity, leaving behind works full of dangerous and beautiful ideas. We will read poetry by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Byron as well as prose works by Paine, Wollstonecraft, Burke, and Austen. 

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume D: The Romantic Period, Eighth Edition, Greenblatt and Abrams, eds. ISBN: 0-393-92720-2
Romanticism and Consciousness, Bloom, ed. ISBN:  9780393099546
English Romanticism, Gaull. ISBN: 9780393955477

Essay and Test Requirements: You will write two essays, one short (1250-1500 words) and one longer (2500-3000) on readings assigned in the course and incorporating critical sources.  The midterm will test your knowledge of the texts from the first half of the course; the final will test specific knowledge of the second half and general knowledge of the entire course. You will also be required to present a five-minute informal oral presentation during the quarter. Grades will be determined as follows:

Paper topic suggestions, course policies, and other materials will be distributed in class and posted on the course web site.  In addition, keep in mind the following:

Reading Requirements: Each date on the syllabus has at least one source reading listed on the first line, and many have a second line for critical readings. Please read both before the class meeting for that date. The critical readings will also be discussed, but their primary purpose is to assist you in understanding the source readings.


I. The Romantic Revolution: William Blake and the Radicals

9/23     Introduction: Romanticism

9/26     Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, 81-97; Gaull, Chapter I, 3 and III, 50
9/28     Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 111
9/30     Excerpts from Price, Burke, Wollstonecraft, and Paine, 148, 167; Barbauld, “The
            Mouse’s Petition,” 27; “Epistle to Wilberforce,” 32; Gaull, Chapter V, 109

II. Romantic Subjectivity: Coleridge and the Wordsworths

10/3     Wordsworth, poems from Lyrical Ballads, 245; Gaull, Chapter XI, 289
10/5     Preface to Lyrical Ballads, 262; Hollander, “Romantic Verse Form…,” 181
10/7     Wordsworth, “Resolution and Independence,” 302; “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” 306; “The Solitary Reaper,” 314; Abrams, “Structure and Style,” 201

10/10   Wordsworth, The Prelude, Books I, 324; V, 357; Bloom, “The Internalization of Quest Romance,” 3
10/12   Wordsworth, The Prelude, VI, 361; and XIV, 385; Hartman, “The Romance of Nature,” 287
10/14   Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” 430; Biographia, Ch. 4, 474

10/17   D. Wordsworth journals, 390; First paper due in class.

III. The Romantic Hero: Byron and the Shelleys

10/19   Byron, short poems, 611-616; Gaull, Chapter VI, 145
10/21   Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Cantos 1 and 3, 617

10/24   Don Juan, Cantos 1 and 2, 670; Kernan, “The Perspective of Satire,” 343;
10/26   Don Juan, Cantos 3 and 4, 718
10/28   Midterm

10/31   Shelley, “Mont Blanc,” 762; “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” 766; “Ode to the West Wind,” 772; Bloom, “The Unpastured Sea,” 374
11/2     Shelley, from Prometheus Unbound, 775; Gaull, Chapter VII, 175
11/4     Shelley, from A Defence of Poetry, 837

11/7     Shelley, “Adonais,” 822
11/9     Mary Shelley, “The Last Man: An Introduction” and “The Mortal Immortal,” 958
11/11 Veterans’ Day! No class today.

IV. Dying Too Soon: Keats and the End of Romanticism

11/14   Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes,” 888; Bate, “Negative Capability,” 326
11/16   Keats, “Ode to Psyche” and “Ode to a Nightingale,” 901
11/18   Keats “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” 905; Gaull, Chapter VIII, 208

11/21   Second paper due in class.
11/23   Keats, “Lamia,” 909
11/25 Thanksgiving Holiday! No class today.

11/28   Keats, “The Fall of Hyperion…,” 926
11/30   Oral Presentations
12/2     Conclusions and Review

Final: Thursday, December 8, from 12 to 2.