Comparative Literature 186RR—Romantic Revolutions: Philosophy, History, and the Arts in Europe

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Instructor: James H. Donelan
HSSB 1224
MTWR 12:30-1:55

Office: 1523 South Hall
Office Hours: TW 11:30-12:30
Enroll Code: 14837

Fulfills the E2 General Education Requirement and the Writing Requirement


Bubner, German Idealist Philosophy

Wordsworth, William Wordsworth: The Major Works
Vaughan, Romanticism and Art

Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Audio CDs:

Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro*

Beethoven, Fidelio*

Schubert, Winterreise

* Additional materials on Figaro and Fidelio may be available in the bookstore. These are optional, but highly recommended.

Course Reader: Available soon at Graphikart in Isla Vista.

Links to art works available on the course web site:

Course Description: An interdisciplinary investigation of the revolutionary changes in European history and culture during the Romantic era, 1789-1830. Students will read works by Wordsworth, Byron, and Hegel, view paintings by Friedrich and Constable, and hear music by Beethoven and Schubert in order to understand political revolt and reform, Romantic self-consciousness, and the Romantic sublime.

Course Requirements: Students must attend all lectures, discussion sections, video presentations, concerts, and one of the two trips to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The course also requires two five-page essays, a midterm, and a final, along with a prospectus and an outline for each essay. Grades will be determined as follows: first essay, 20%; midterm, 20%; second essay, 25%, final, 30%, participation, 5%. The essays will be critical interpretations of a work or works examined in the course, with scholarly secondary sources and proper MLA citation style.


I. Revolutionary Beginnings: The Late Enlightenment and the French Revolution

8/2 Introduction and Logistics:
8/3 Mozart/da Ponte, The Marriage of Figaro Notes
8/4 Figaro, continued. Notes

8/5 Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience; recommended reading: Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapter 3. Notes

8/9   Doyle, The French Revolution and Burke, Reflections (reader). Notes and More Notes
8/10 Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapters 1 and 2; View David and Goya images here. Notes

II. Romantic Reforms: The British Slave Trade and Women’s Rights

8/11 Jacobus, "Geometric Writing" and Equiano, "Narrative" (reader) Notes
8/12 Wilberforce, "Speech" (reader) Notes First essay due.

8/16 Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (reader) Notes
8/17 Beethoven, Fidelio Notes

8/18 Fidelio, continued.
8/19 Midterm

III. Romantic Self-consciousness: Poetry, Music, and Philosophy

8/23 W. Wordsworth, Prelude, Books I, VI, X, and XI. (375) Notes
8/24 W. Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey" (131), "Michael" (224), "Resolution and Independence" (260), "Ode" (297) Notes

8/25 Beethoven, String Quartet in Bb major, Op. 130/133 (on reserve)
8/26 German Idealist Philosophy, Introduction and excerpts from Kant.

8/30 German Idealist Philosphy, excerpts from Fichte
8/31 German Idealist Philosophy, excerpts from Hegel

IV. The Romantic Sublime: Beauty, Truth, and Longing

9/1 Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapters 5 and 6 Notes
9/2 Shelley, "Mont Blanc" and "To the West Wind"; Keats, Odes (reader) Second essay due. Notes

9/6 Labor Day

9/7 Schubert, Winterreise Notes
9/8 Conclusions and Presentations.
9/9 Final Exam