The Romantic Poets (LIT2249.01)

Michael Dumanis

This course provides an immersion into the work of a group of late 18th century and early 19th century British poets and thinkers who reacted against the rationalism of Enlightenment thought, the tumultuous politics of the day, and the birth of the Industrial Revolution by valorizing imagination over reason, mystery over certainty, nature over artifice, and the sensuous over the conceptual, as they aimed in their poetry to capture beauty, authenticity, intense emotion, and the sublime. We will read the canonical “big six” British Romantic poets — William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats — and also examine the work of several women poets of the time, including Charlotte Smith, Felicia Hemans, and Dorothy Wordsworth, as well as the peasant poet John Clare, who has been described as “the quintessential Romantic poet.” We are also likely to consider British Romanticism in the context of analogous Romantic literary movements in Germany and Russia. We will focus both on the structure and rhetoric of individual Romantic poems, as well as on their psychological, existential, political, and ecological dimensions. Assignments will likely include presentations, memorization and recitation of poems, and two critical essays.


Learning Outcomes:
Through this course, students will

a) develop a familiarity with the poetic works of Romantic literature, both by the canonical "big six" Romantic poets and the multiple women writers associated with the movement
b) learn to consider the effects of diction, syntax, and image on individual poems as they perform close readings
c) develop an understanding of key concepts, themes, and terms associated with Romanticism, as well as the historical, political, and societal context
d) do research on individual Romantic poets and collaborate on presentations
e) learn to memorize and recite poems
f) strengthen their critical writing skills and the effectiveness of their verbal participation in discussions


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Literature , Fully In-Person
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