L332 25325 ROMANTIC LITERATURE
Nick Williams

10:10a-11:00a MWF (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

The British Romantic period (1789-1832) is one that saw revolutions in both literary sensibilities and sociopolitical structures. On the literary side, it signals an explosion of cultural activity of an entirely new variety (particularly in the poetic genres). Among the poets and novelists whose careers fall in this period are William Blake (1757-1827), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1798), William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Jane Austen (1775-1817), Lord Byron (1788-1824), Percy Shelley (1792- 1822), John Keats (1795-1821) and Mary Shelley (1797-1851). In social and political developments, England felt the cataclysmic shocks of the French Revolution (beginning in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille), among whose effects must be numbered the pressure for increased democratization (leading to the vote for adult property-owning males in 1832) and the abolition of the slave trade in England (1807). In addition to our reading some of the major works of the period, I will focus on the emergence of the Gothic in the period, a genre that focuses on supernatural occurrences, but which also has the ability to express some of the political anxieties of the time. Besides an anthology of Romanticism, we’ll be reading Matthew Lewis’s gothic novel The Monk, Austen’s gothic parody Northanger Abbey, Wollstonecraft’s political gothic Maria and Mary Shelley’s tale of incestuous terror, Matilda. Assignments will include 2 or 3 interpretive essays, a mid-term and a final.