Toward the end of the 18th century, writers, thinkers and artists began to react against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the coming Industrial Revolution and the political claustrophobia of Europe, and they set out on a new path. The result was the Romantic movement, and it gave us some of the most enduring poetic works. In this course, we will look at both the German and English poets of the Romantic Era, and consider their lives, the contexts in which they wrote, and most importantly, the poems themselves, paying particular attention to the ways in which these writers wrote and thought about the natural world. Poets will include Emily Bronte, John Keats, Shelley, Blake and John Clare, as well as the Germans Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Schiller, the Grimm Brothers, and Hoelderlin. In addition to poems, we’ll read Wuthering Heights, German fairy tales, and we’ll discuss the ways in which this cultural movement opened the doors to environmental conservation, psychology, and nationalism.
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