British Romanticism: poetry

Course title: British Romanticism: poetry
(Former course title: English Romantic Poetry)
Course coordinator: Martina Domines Veliki, PhD
Martina Domines Veliki, PhD
ECTS credits: 6
Language: English
Duration: 1 semester (3rd or 5th, 4th or 6th semester)
Status: elective
Course type: 1 hour of lecture, 2 hours of seminar
Prerequisites: Introduction to English Literature or Introduction into English Lit 1 and 2, 3/5 or 4/6 semester enrollment
Course requirements: continuous assessment (midterm and final exam, final paper, class attendance and participation)

Objective: The students will be introduced to the major poets of English Romanticism, as well as their relevant historical, cultural, political and aesthetic milieu. The aim of this course is to encourage students to create their own view of the suggested array of poems through close reading. They will be asked to think about and analyze these poems with the help of a number of critical texts (from new historicist to post-structuralist ones).

Course description: Authors we will read include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats. Through reading of their representative poetry we will tackle some fundamental Romantic concepts such as poetic inspiration, memory of the past events, the sublime, deism and mysticism, the relationship between the poetic subject and nature as well as the role played by language. The poetic subject becomes the central topic of most Romantic poetry and it is actualized through a close relationship with nature that acts as either a consoling or a debilitating force. Priority will be given to the Romantic poets of the first generation. These poets often imagine themselves to be responding to the French Revolution. They rebel against social injustice, cherishing feelings for ‘common’ people and believing, in the words of Shelley, that they are indeed the acknowledged ‘legislators of the world’.

Weekly schedule:
week 1:
Introduction into English Romanticism. Historical background.

week 2: William Blake – selections from Songs of Innocence and Experience
week 3:
Blake continued – “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
week 4:
William Wordsworth – excerpts from the 1800 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, a selection of poems from Lyrical Ballads
week 5:
Wordsworth continued: a selection of poems from Poems in Two Volumes
week 6:
Wordsworth continued – The Prelude (chosen books)
week 7: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
– selections from Biographia Literaria
week 8:
Coleridge continued – “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Dejection: an Ode”, “Kubla Khan”

midterm exam
week 9: George Gordon Byron –
excerpts from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
week 10:
Byron continued – excerpts from Don Juan , “Prometheus”, “Fare Thee Well”
week 11: Percy Bysshe Shelley
– “Ozymandias”, “Ode to the West Wind”
week 12:
Shelley continued – “To a Skylark”, excerpts from “A Defence of Poetry”, “Prometheus Unbound”
week 13: John Keats:
“To Autumn”, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
week 14:
Keats continued – “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
week 15. : final exam and final paper


Primary literature:
Curran, Stuart (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism (Cambridge:
Cambridge UP, 1998)
Roe, Nicholas. Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005)
Wu, Duncan. Romanticism: An Anthology (3rd edition) (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
Wu, Duncan: A Companion to Romanticism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001)

Secondary literature:
Abrams, M. H.: The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical
Tradition (London: Oxford UP, 1960)
Abrams, M. H.: Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic
Literature (London: Oxford UP, 1971)
Ashfield, Andrew and Peter de Bolla. The Sublime: A Reader in British Eighteenth-Century
Aesthetic Theory (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, 1996)
Bainbridge, Simon (ed.) Romanticism: A Sourcebook (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
Bennett, Andrew: Romantic Poets and the Culture of Posterity (Cambridge UP, 1999)
Bloom, Harold: The Visionary Company: A Reading of English Romantic Poetry
(London: Cornell UP, any edition)
Bone, Drummond: The Cambridge Companion to Byron (Cambridge UP, 2004)
Bromwich, David: Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s (Chicago and
London: The University of Chicago Press, 2000)
Butler, Marilyn: Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries – English Literature and its
Background 1760-1830 (Oxford, New York: Oxford UP, 1981)
Day, Aidan: Romanticism (London and New York: Routledge, 1996)
de Man, Paul: The Rhetoric of Romanticism (New York: Columbia UP, 1984)
Duffy, Cian. Shelley and the Revolutionary Sublime (Cambridge UP, 2005)
Duffy, Cian and Peter Howell (ed.) Cultures of the Sublime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
Erdman, David: Blake : Prophet against Empire (New York : Dover, 1991)
Gill, Stephen: The Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth (Cambridge UP, 2003)
Hartman, Geoffrey: Wordsworth’s Poetry 1787-1813 (Harvard UP, 1987)
Lucas, John. William Blake: Longman Critical Reader (New York: Longman, 1998)
Mellor, Anne K.: Romanticism and Gender (Routledge, 1993)
Morton, Timothy: The Cambridge Companion to Shelley (Cambridge UP, 2006)
Newlyn, Lucy: The Cambridge Companion to Coleridge (Cambridge UP, 2002)
Pfau, Thomas and Robert F. Gleckner (ed.) Lessons of Romanticism (Durham and London:
Duke UP, 1998)
Roe, Nicholas. Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003)
Scrivener, Michael Henry. Radical Shelley (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1982)
Simpson, David. Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination (New York and London: Methuen, 1987)
White, R.S. Natural Rights and the Birth of Romanticism in the 1790s (New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2005)
Wolfson, Susan: The Cambridge Companion to Keats (Cambridge UP, 2001)

(except ac. year 2019/20)