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

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Instructor: James H. Donelan
HSSB 1233
MTWR 11:00-12:25

Office: 1523 South Hall
Office Hours: TW 12:30-1:30
Enroll Code: 01289

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

Mozart, Don Giovanni

Audio CDs:

Beethoven, Fidelio

Schubert, Winterreise

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 seminars, and ares strongly encouraged to attend the museum trip. 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:
6/21 Mozart/da Ponte, Don Giovanni Notes
6/22 Don Giovanni, continued. Notes

6/23 Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience; recommended reading: Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapter 3. Notes

6/27 Doyle, The French Revolution and Burke, Reflections (reader). Notes and More Notes
6/28 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


6/29 Jacobus, "Geometric Writing" and Equiano, "Narrative" (reader) Notes
6/30 Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (reader) Notes

7/4 Happy Independence Day!

7/5 Wilberforce, "Speech" (reader) Notes First essay due.
7/6 Beethoven, Fidelio Notes
7/7 Midterm

III. Romantic Self-consciousness

7/11 Beethoven, String Quartet in Bb major, Op. 130/133 (on reserve)
7/12 German Idealist Philosophy, Introduction and excerpts from Kant.

7/13 W. Wordsworth, Prelude, Books I, VI, X, and XI. (375) Notes
7/14 W. Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey" (131), "Michael" (224), "Resolution and Independence" (260), "Ode" (297) Notes

7/18 German Idealist Philosophy, excerpts from Hegel
7/19 Vaughan, Romanticism and Art, Chapters 5 and 6 Notes

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

7/20 Shelley, "Mont Blanc" and "To the West Wind"; Notes
7/21 Art Museum Field Trip--11AM in the Getty Rotunda. See your email for details.

7/25 Keats, Odes (reader)

7/26 Schubert, Winterreise Notes
7/27 Final Exam Second essay due.
7/28 Day of rest.