British Romanticism

Course Outline:

This course is divided into four key areas across the two terms: Revolution and Romanticism; Romantic Education: Women and Children; Politics and Poetics; the Gothic.

In the first term, we will begin by examining the relationship between Romanticism and revolution, particularly in terms of the events of the French Revolution which help to define the period. We will then consider how ideas generated during the period related to issues of gender, developing this theme to examine poetry by women, and considering the importance of re-educating as a means for bringing about change within the period. In the first half of the second term, we examine the relationship between politics and poetics for the major second generation poets, examining some of the more complex underlying ideas about the workings of the mind, of identity, and of the imagination as they find expression in the major writers of the period. In the second half, the course will turn its attention to the popular literary movement of ‘Gothic’ which emerges during the Romantic period, exploring its manifestation in a range of texts. The course aims to give students a well-rounded sense of Romanticism as a full development of earlier eighteenth-century ideas and movements as well as a distinct period in itself. We will work out of close knowledge of key texts in order to begin to tackle some of the wider, more abstract ideas such as: nature; imagination; the sublime. We will also consider literary ideas within a broader social, historical and philosophical context.