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ENGL404: English Romantic Poetry

Unit 1: An Introduction to the Romantic Period and Its Poetry   The Romantic period coincided with the industrialization of Britain and dramatic popular revolutions in France and America - developments that changed the way in which people conceived of themselves and their relationships with their societies. Many awakened to the concepts of self-determination and individual rights, turning away from the Enlightenment model of subjectivity so as to include more elements of man, such as imagination and emotion. Why the era was called Romantic is heavily debated. Many scholars assert that the term Romantic comes from the criticism that writers of this era were constantly on a quest for something, often unnamed, which therefore echoed the romances of the Middle Ages. Others believe that the word roman refers to the French and German meanings of new or novel since the writers of this period set out to create art that was wholly new and unique.
 
In this unit, we will examine these social changes and the impact they had on the development of English Romantic poetry. We will conclude with an overview of English Romanticism - its principal characteristics, practitioners, and conventions.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 13.75 hours.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 6 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  - explain Romanticism in its historical and social context, especially in relation to the French Revolution; - identify and describe Romantic views on society and social relations, industrialization, the rise of the working class, the expansion of British Empire and British nationalism, and the rise of the press; - define Romanticism’s relationship to Neo-Classicism; and - list and explain the major tenets of Romanticism.

1.1 Romanticism in Socio-Historical Context   1.1.1 Introduction to the French Revolution   - Web Media: Khan Academy’s “The French Revolution Part 1”

Link: Khan Academy’s “[The French Revolution Part
1](http://www.khanacademy.org/video/french-revolution--part-1?playlist=History)”
(YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: Watch this segment from the Khan Academy on the
French Revolution for an introduction to the era, especially with
regard to the causes of the French Revolution. What were the major
historical causes of the French Revolution?  
    
 Watching the video should take approximately 25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The Victorian Web's Dr. David Cody’s Brief Introduction to the “French Revolution”

    Link: The Victorian Web's Dr. David Cody’s Brief Introduction to the “French Revolution” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Dr. Cody’s brief introduction to the French Revolution. How did the French Revolution impact life in England?
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 25 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is used under academic permission. It can be reproduced for educational and scholarly use according to these guidelines.

1.1.2 New Views on Society and Social Relations   - Reading: Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the French Revolution” and Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man: “Part One” and “Part Two”

Link: Edmund Burke’s “[Reflections on the French
Revolution](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ENGL404-Burke-Reflections-on-the-French-Revolution.pdf)*” *(PDF)
and Thomas Paine’s *The Rights of Man*: “[Part
One](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ENGL404-The-Rights-of-Man-%E2%80%93-Part-One.pdf)”
(PDF) and “[Part
Two](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ENGL404-The-Rights-of-Man-%E2%80%93-Part-Two.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the selection from Burke’s conservative letter
attacking the French Revolution as well as the two parts to Paine’s
liberal response to Burke’s letter. As you read the texts, consider
the reasoning that both authors give for their respective stances on
the French Revolution. How would you describe Burke’s stance? What
is the logic behind his attack on the Revolution? How does Paine
respond to this attack? How would you characterize Paine’s stance on
the subject?  
    
 Reading these documents should take approximately 1 hour and 5
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

1.1.3 English Politics During the Age of the French Revolution, Part I   - Reading: The History Guide: Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History: “Lecture 14: The Language of Politics: England and the French Revolution”

Link: The History Guide: *Lectures on Modern European Intellectual
History*: “[Lecture 14: The Language of Politics: England and the
French
Revolution](http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture14a.html)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the History Guide’s introduction to England
during the French Revolution. This website will provide you with
useful contextual background to Britain during the era of revolution
in France.  
    
 Reading this webpage should take approximately 25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above, which may be found
[here](http://www.historyguide.org/conditions.html).

1.1.4 English Politics During the Age of the French Revolution, Part II   - Reading: The Project Gutenberg: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: “Introduction and Chapters 1-2” Link: The Project Gutenberg: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: “Introduction and Chapters 1-2” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the Introduction and the first two chapters of Mary Wollstonecraft’s work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. As you read, notice what Wollstonecraft’s arguments are concerning women’s status in society. How do men view women? How are women educated, and how do women come to view themselves through their education? Also notice how Wollstonecraft bases her arguments on her understanding of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. What is the purpose of education according to Rousseau and Wollstonecraft? How do they both see education countering the distortions brought about by society and culture?
 
Reading these chapters should take approximately 35 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.5 Industrialization; the Decline of Agrarian Lifestyle; and the Rise of the Urban, Working Class   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation: “The Industrial Revolution and the Romantic Spirit” Link: The Saylor Foundation: “The Industrial Revolution and the Romantic Spirit” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the essay, which will provide you with the context you need in order to understand the rise of a new urban working class during the 18th century and the Romantic era. How did the new urban working class socially and culturally impact England?
 
Reading this material should take approximately 20 minutes.

  • Reading: BBC.com: Dr. Donna Loftus’ “The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class” Link: BBC.com: Dr. Donna Loftus’ “The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the essay, which will provide you with additional context you need in order to understand the rise of a new urban working class during the 18th century and the Romantic era.
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the BBC webpage above, which can be found here.

1.1.6 Expansion of the Empire and the New World   - Reading: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Francesco Crocco’s “The Ruins of Empire: Nationalism, Art, and Empire in Hemans’ Modern Greece” Link: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Francesco Crocco’s “The Ruins of Empire: Nationalism, Art, and Empire in Hemans’ Modern Greece” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Francesco Crocco’s essay for a useful introduction to British Imperialism during the Romantic era. The essay discusses some Romantic works that feature imagery of ruins from past empires. How was this fascination with ruin imagery a way to engage the ambivalent feelings that Romantic writers had regarding the British Empire? What were those feelings that writers had about the British Empire? What were some fears or anxieties regarding the very purpose of the British Empire?
 
Reading this material should take approximately 25 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which can be found here.

1.1.7 The Rise of Nationalism and National Identity   - Reading: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Matthew Borushko’s “‘A Nation or a World’: Patriotism in Shelley” Link: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Matthew Borushko’s “‘A Nation or a World’: Patriotism in Shelley” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Borushko’s essay on nationalism and national identity in the Romantic era. Concentrate on how Shelley’s notion of British nationalism is redefined along the Romantic era’s values of reform and progressive politics.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which may be found here.

1.1.8 German Idealism, Beauty, the Sublime, and the Imagination   - Reading: Philosophy Pages: “Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)” Link: Philosophy Pages: “Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the summary of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. For Kant, the human mind is an active participant in the understanding and structuring of experience, which becomes the basic tenet of the school of philosophy based on Kant’s works, called German Idealism. How important is the human mind to Kant? What faculties besides mere reasoning are important for Immanuel Kant?
 
Reading this material should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Garth Kemerling.

  • Reading: HZT4UR Wikispaces: Scott Alain’s “The Life, Times, and Achievements of Immanuel Kant” Link: HZT4UR Wikispaces: Scott Alain’s “The Life, Times, and Achievements of Immanuel Kant” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the entry by Scott Alain on Immanuel Kant, paying attention to the Key Theories section which lists The Copernican Revolution and The Categorical Imperative. Kant’s ideas not only redefine man as the active producer of meaning in his world but also link man’s ability to reason with imagination and man’s moral understanding. How was this like Copernicus? How did Kant view morality in terms of universality?
     
    Reading this material should take approximately 10 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to http://hzt4ur.wikispaces.com.

  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Hannah Ginsborg’s “Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Hannah Ginsborg’s “Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the introduction and then scroll down to read Section 1: The Faculty of Judgement, and Section 2: Aesthetics, of the essay by Hannah Ginsborg, which discusses the roles of judgment and aesthetics in the works of Immanuel Kant - notions that were major influences on German Romanticism and, eventually, British Romanticism. What goes into the judgments of beauty? What goes into judgments of the sublime? How is freedom an important element to such judgments?
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 50 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which can be found here.

1.2 The Literary Scene   1.2.1 The Rise of the Press: Freedom of Speech, Technological Advances, and Changes in Readership   - Reading: Romantic Circles Reviews: Dr. Michelle Levy’s “William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period. Authorship, Commerce and the Public, eds. Clery, Franklin, Garside. Press, Politics and the Public Sphere, eds. Barker and Burrows. Women’s Writing, eds. Justice and Tinker”

Link: Romantic Circles Reviews: Dr. Michelle Levy’s “[William St.
Clair, *The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period. Authorship,
Commerce and the Public,* eds. Clery, Franklin, Garside. *Press,
Politics and the Public Sphere,* eds. Barker and Burrows. *Women’s
Writing,* eds. Justice and
Tinker](http://www.rc.umd.edu/reviews-blog/?p=459)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read Dr. Levy’s essay reviewing a series of texts
that explored the role of printing and the press in the Romantic
era. Take note of what the main elements were for Romanticism’s
*reading* and *print* culture, specifically the printing *boom*
which made many previous texts widely available to the public, and
the expansion of who in society became the new *consumers* of
literature.  
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 25 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.2 Neoclassicism: Reason, Form, and Order   - Reading: The Victorian Web's “Neoclassicism: An Introduction”

Link: The Victorian Web's “[Neoclassicism: An
Introduction](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ENGL402-Neoclassicism-an-Introduction.pdf)”
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read through this brief introduction to the concept
of Neoclassicism - the artistic movement which pre-dated
Romanticism.  
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This reading is used under academic permission. It
can be reproduced for educational and scholarly uses according to
[these guidelines](http://www.victorianweb.org/misc/using.html).
  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation: “How to Read a Poem” Link: The Saylor Foundation: “How to Read a Poem” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the article above, as it will provide you with some important tips that will help when you read the first poem of this course, which will be presented in the resource box below.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.

  • Reading: Gutenberg.org: Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism: “Parts I and II” Links: Gutenberg.org: Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism: “Parts I and II” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Parts I and II of Alexander Pope’s poem Essay on Criticism. Pay attention to how Pope calls for poets and critics to study the classics, who, according to Pope, based their poetics on nature. Also note how poetry should be regulated and disciplined before it can be considered literature.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 35 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This work is in the public domain. However, please respect the terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which can be found here.

1.2.3 Major Tenets of Romanticism: A Brief Overview   - Reading: Dr. Lilia Melani’s “Introduction to Romanticism” Link: Dr. Lilia Melani’s “Introduction to Romanticism” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Dr. Melani’s introduction to the tenets of Romanticism. What were the major tenets and ideas associated with Romanticism? How did Romantic writers tend to regard symbolism and myth? How did Romanticism differ from Neoclassicism? What are some of the traits of the figure of the Romantic hero? What is the relationship between the rise of Romanticism and the French Revolution?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 40 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted with the kind permission of Dr. Lilia Melani, and the original version can be found here. Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder. 

1.3 An Introduction to Romantic Poetry   1.3.1 The Ethos of the Romantic Era   - Reading: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “Introduction to the Romantic Era in English Poetry” Link: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “Introduction to the Romantic Era in English Poetry” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Dr. Johnston’s useful Introduction to the Romantic Era in English poetry. Why is the concept of Romanticism difficult to define? What are some of the hallmarks of the Romantic attitude? How has Romanticism influenced the way people of today understand themselves?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

1.3.2 Focus on Nature and the Natural World   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation: “William Blake” Link: The Saylor Foundation: “William Blake” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the brief article about William Blake.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.

  • Reading: Gutenberg.org: William Blake’s “Introduction”, “The Echoing Green”, “The Lamb”, “The Blossom”, and “Night” Links: Gutenberg.org: William Blake’s “Introduction” (HTML), “The Echoing Green” (HTML), “The Lamb” (HTML), “The Blossom” (HTML), and “Night” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Blake’s five poems in which he meditates on the beauty of nature and on the interaction between man and nature.
     
    Reading all five poems should take approximately 35 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: The Victorian Web: Dr. George P. Landow’s “Romantic Nature” Link: The Victorian Web: Dr. George P. Landow’s “Romantic Nature” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Dr. Landow’s introduction to the role of nature in the Romantic era. During the Romantic era, authors became increasingly fascinated with the role of the natural world in the life of the human. How do Blake’s poems present nature? How is nature used in Blake’s poems?
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource may be used under academic permission. It can be reproduced for educational and scholarly use according to these guidelines.

  • Reading: Poetry Foundation: William Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us” Link: Poetry Foundation: William Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read William Wordsworth’s sonnet The World Is Too Much With Us. What has man lost by moving away from the world of nature and being too caught up with his own world? How does the pagan creed supply something to man that he is missing?
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 10 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which can be found here.

1.3.3 Immediacy of Expression   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation: “William Wordsworth (1770–1850)” Link: The Saylor Foundation: “William Wordsworth (1770–1850)” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this brief entry on William Wordsworth.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.

  • Reading: William Wordsworth’s “A Night-Piece” Link: William Wordsworth’s “A Night-Piece” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Wordsworth’s poem. In this poem, Wordsworth focuses on the individual subject’s experience of immediate sense perception. In what ways does the poem focus on the ways in which the individual experiences his or her surroundings or environment? In this poem, Wordsworth presents the experience of witnessing nature and feeling spontaneously inspired and awestruck by it. How does Wordsworth understand the natural world in this poem?
     
    Reading this poem should take approximately 10 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

1.3.4 Drama and Heightened Sensation   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation: “Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)” Link: The Saylor Foundation: “Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this brief article on Samuel Taylor.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.

  • Reading: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Picture or the Lover’s Resolution” Link: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Picture or the Lover’s Resolution” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Coleridge’s poem. In this lively adventure poem, we follow a speaker running through a lush, dense forest scene; the pace of the poem mirrors the movement and excitement of its character.
     
    Reading this poem should take approximately 25 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

1.3.5 A New Poetics   - Reading: William Wordsworth’s “Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads” Link: William Wordsworth’s “Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Wordsworth’s advertisement.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

  • Reading: BritLitWiki: Kathryn Kummer’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” Link: BritLitWiki: Kathryn Kummer’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Kathryn Kummer’s introductory essay on Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads to get a sense of what was so revolutionary to Wordsworth’s approach to poetry.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. It is attributed to http://britlitwiki.wikispaces.com.

  • Reading: BritLitWiki: William Wordsworth’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” Link: BritLitWiki: William Wordsworth’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Preface to Lyrical Ballads to see Wordsworth argue for his new poetics. What is wrong with the poetry of Wordsworth’s immediate predecessors? What imagery, language, and feelings does Wordsworth concentrate on in his poetry? What is Wordsworth’s definition of poetry? How does spontaneity fit in with his poetry?
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 25 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. It is attributed to http://britlitwiki.wikispaces.com.

1.3.6 Roots in Folklore   - Reading: William Wordsworth’s *Goody Blake and Harry Gill* Link: William Wordsworth’s Goody Blake and Harry Gill (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read William Wordsworth’s poem Goody Blake and Harry Gill. How does the poem fit into Wordsworth’s strategy of producing poetry that is more authentic, with common men and common language?
 
Reading this poem should take approximately 20 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

1.3.7 Common Man, Common Language   - Reading: Wikipedia: Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” Link: Wikipedia: Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read To a Mouse by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The poem is difficult due to its dialect, so refer to the Standard English translation which accompanies the poem to help you read and understand it. How is the poem an example of the poetics that Wordsworth argues for in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads in subunit 1.3.5? How does the rustic dialect underscore the poem’s attempt to make a more authentic statement? How does the poem connect man and nature yet, at the same time, distinguish man from nature? What feature does man possess that separates him from the rest of nature?
 
Reading this poem should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Wikipedia.
 

1.3.8 Uncommon Man, Uncommon Fate   - Reading: Wikispaces: StylusPapyrus’ “The Romantic Hero” Link: Wikispaces: StylusPapyrus’ “The Romantic Hero” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entry on The Romantic Hero. What makes the Romantic hero heroic? What does he stand for, and what is he often against? What are some characters from real life and literature that the Romantics took up as models for their own romantic heroes?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to http://extensionstyluspapyrus.wikispaces.com.