: The course will offer a broad overview of the political, philosophical and literary history of the Romantic period (1789-1850), focusing on the works of the second generation of Romantic writers. We will begin with an investigation of the impact of the French Revolution on the Romantics and of radical developments during this period in religion (the opposition to Christianity), philosophy (the revolt against empiricism), aesthetics (the prevailing interest in the sublime and the emergence of the aesthetics of the picturesque), art ( the change from the tradition of portrait paintings or paintings on historical subjects to landscape paintings in which the main subject is represented by nature as the human figure diminishes is size and significance)
and gardening (the change from the formal garden to a landscape that more nearly resembles the uncultivated look of the wilderness, according to standards set forth by picturesque aesthetics). After four weeks on these introductory topics, we will then turn to an in-depth study of the work of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and George Gordon Byron, focusing on their different representations of transcendence, the sublime, narcissism, transgression and the Promethean hero.
BOOKS: John Keats. Selected Poems and Letters (Riverside)
Percy Bysshe Shelley. Poetry and Prose (Norton)
George Gordon Byron. Poetical Works (Norton)
Mary Shelley. Frankenstein (St. Martin’s)
XEROX: One course package (abbreviated as CP in Syllabus) is available from the
AVE COPY CENTER (4141 University Way, Suite 103; tel.: 633-1837).
It contains readings on the French Revolution; on the Revolution controversy
in England ( Richard Price, Edmund Burke, Tom Paine, Samuel Taylor
Coleridge and William Wordsworth) and the aesthetics of the sublime
(Longinus, Burke) and the picturesque (William Gilpin, Uvedale Price).