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ENGL404: English Romantic Poetry

Unit 4: The Romantic Craft: Poesis, Innovation, and Experiment   In this unit, we will take a look at what it meant to be a writing subject in the Romantic period, examining notions of authorship, poesis, and tradition. We will consider with particular care the poet’s sense of his own role in society - something that we may find rather unfamiliar when compared to today’s understanding of the poetic craft as a less-than-urgent art form.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 2.25 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  - identify components of the Romantic craft of authorship; - explain the Romantic focus on the poet as an average human, as a spokesperson for the nation, and as a revolutionary; and - define Romantic poesis and explain Romantic views concerning writer’s block, poetic imagination, innovation, and experimentation.

4.1 The Figure of the Romantic Poet   4.1.1 Poet as Average Man   - Reading: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Dr. Elizabeth Fay’s “Wordsworth’s Balladry: Real Men Wanted” Link: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Dr. Elizabeth Fay’s “Wordsworth’s Balladry: Real Men Wanted” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Dr. Fay’s article. What are the values and ethics espoused in Wordsworth’s poetry according to Dr. Fay’s essay? What are the elements of an individual that Wordsworth idealizes in his works?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 50 minutes.
 
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4.1.2 Poet as Spokesperson for a Nation   - Reading: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Dr. Samuel Gladden’s “Shelley’s Agenda Writ Large: Reconsidering Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant” Link: Romantic Circles Praxis Series: Dr. Samuel Gladden’s “Shelley’s Agenda Writ Large: Reconsidering Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Dr. Gladden’s essay. What does Gladden suggest about Shelley’s use of the body and sexuality in Shelley’s Oedipus Tyrannus?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 35 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above, which can be found here.

4.1.3 Poet as a Revolutionary   - Reading: The Guardian: Paul O’Brien’s “Prophet of the Revolution” Link: The Guardian: Paul O’Brien’s “Prophet of the Revolution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read O’Brien’s piece on Shelley and revolution. What were Shelley’s connections to political upheaval and progressive politics in his time?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 20 minutes.
 
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4.2 Poesis (the Creation of Poetry)   4.2.1 The Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feelings: Art as an Inward Illumination Rather than an Imitation of Life   - Reading: William Hazlitt’s “On Poetry in General” Link: William Hazlitt’s “On Poetry in General” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the excerpt. What are Hazlitt’s ideas of poetry and its production? According to Hazlitt, what is the role of poetry and of the poet? How does Hazlitt see the poet’s relationship to nature? To beauty?
 
Reading this excerpt should take approximately 50 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

4.2.2 Inspiration and Intuition   - Reading: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “A Defence of Poetry” Link: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “A Defence of Poetry” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Shelley’s essay. In this essay, Shelley explains the function and importance of poetry and thus provides his defense of the genre. He argues that the poet cannot simply say I will write a poem; he must be inspired by something external and transformative. What does Shelley mean when he states, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world?” What does that statement suggest about the true social, political, and cultural power of artists?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 50 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

4.2.3 The Imagination as the Primary Creative Faculty   - Reading: Erudit.org: Romanticism on the Net: Dr. Duncan Wu’s “Tautology and Imaginative Vision in Wordsworth” Link: Erudit.org: Romanticism on the Net: Dr. Duncan Wu’s “Tautology and Imaginative Vision in Wordsworth” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Dr. Wu’s essay. How does tautology - the repetition of words or ideas - come to illustrate the expansion of imagination and vision and, therefore, of meaning as seen in poetry? Is this repetition of things done for a specific reason, and does it accomplish anything within poetry?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 35 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

The Saylor Foundation's ENGL404 Final Exam   - Final Exam: The Saylor Foundation's ENGL404 Final Exam Link: The Saylor Foundation's ENGL404 Final Exam
 
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