English | English Literature 1790-1900
L641 | 26266 | Williams
L641 26266 WILLIAMS (#4)
English Literature 1790-1900
9:30a – 10:45a TR
Given that L641 is a readings course in 19th-century British
literature other than fiction, my ambitions are largely limited to
surveying works of some of the major poets of the period, along with
a bit of non-fiction
prose. That is to say, I don’t use a heavily thematic organization
for the course, but rather think its ends are well met if we read
and discuss a variety of texts (to include William Blake, Anna
Barbauld, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte
Smith, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Felicia Hemans, LEL, Tennyson,
Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and
so on). Clearly, there’s a wealth of material to be discussed in
such a course, and, given the limitations of time, my bias is more
towards the beginning than the end of the century.
To the extent that I have any larger thematic in mind about this
period, it concerns the increasing role that poetry plays at this
time in describing sensation and sensory experience, a theme we’ll
have ample time to reflect upon throughout the semester.
Wordsworth’s foundation of poetry in feeling, Keats’s call for “a
life of sensation rather than thought,” are just two instances of a
widespread notion that poetry’s job is to formulate and bring into
discourse this dimension of life formally regarded as beneath
significance. This interest in sensation drives my choice of two
prose works for us to read: Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an
English Opium-Eater and John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography.
I’ll order Duncan Wu’s Romanticism anthology and the Broadview
anthology for Victorian material, along with the prose works.
Assignments will include 2 papers of approximately 10 pages and a
group assignment asking you to reflect on strategies for teaching