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


Instructor: James H. Donelan
Room: Girvetz 2116
Meeting Times: MTWR 11:00-12:20

Office: 1319 Girvetz Hall
Office Hours: MT 12:30-1:30
Enroll Code: 15628

Fulfills the E2 General Education Requirement and the Writing Requirement


Wordsworth, The Prelude: 1799, 1805, 1850
Robinson, Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio
Breckman, European Romanticism

Vaughan, Romanticism and Art

Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Audio and Video Links

Course Reader: Available soon at Graphikart in Isla Vista.

Course Description: An interdisciplinary investigation of the revolutionary changes in European history and culture during the Romantic era. Students will read works by Wordsworth, Blake, and Hegel, view paintings by David, Goya, Friedrich, and Constable, and hear music by Beethoven and Schubert in the context of political revolt and reform.

Course Requirements: Students should attend all classes after having completed the reading, listening, and viewing assignments. 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

6/20 Introduction and Logistics: Mozart and the Enlightenment
6/21 Blake, Songs of Innocence
6/22 Blake, Songs of Experience

6/23 Doyle, The French Revolution David and Goya Slides


6/27 Burke, Reflections (reader). 
6/28 “Introduction: A Revolution in Culture” and F. Schlegel, “Athenaeum Fragment No. 116” in European Romanticism, 76

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

6/29 Jacobus, "Geometric Writing" and Equiano, "Narrative" (reader)
6/30 Wilberforce, "Speech" and Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (reader) First Essay Due.

7/4 Happy Independence Day!

7/5 Shelley, excerpt from Frankenstein in European Romanticism, 139; Beethoven, Fidelio
7/6 Beethoven, Fidelio, continued.
7/7 Midterm

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

7/11 Wordsworth, Prelude, Books I, V, VI, IX, and X
7/12 Prelude, Books XI-XIV
7/13 Wordsworth, “Preface and “Tintern Abbey,” in European Romanticism, 62
7/14 Beethoven, String Quartet in Bb major, Op. 130/133; Hoffmann, “Beethoven’s Instrumental Music” in European Romanticism, 126

7/18 Fichte, “What is a people?” and “What is love?” in European Romanticism, 113
7/19 Hegel, from The Phenomenology of Spirit (reader)

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

7/20 Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapters 5 and 6; links to paintings online
7/21 Shelley, "Mont Blanc" and "A Defence of Poetry" in European Romanticism, 142;
         Keats, Odes (reader) Second essay due.
Takacs Quartet Concert, SBMA, 2PM; Hahn Hall, 8PM

7/25 Schubert, Winterreise, first half.

7/26 Schubert, Winterreise, second half.
7/27 Conclusions and Presentations.
7/28 Final Exam