This module consists of two seminars, working in tandem (but also on their own). While Exploring Romanticism: Politics, Aesthetics, Genres, Gender is designed to offer students a first insight into the broad range of writings during the Romantic period, the concomitant seminar The Writings of William Wordsworth will focus on one prominent, canonic author of the period, William Wordsworth. Both seminars will offer ample opportunity of in-depth study of key texts in class.
In seminar I, Exploring Romanticism: Politics, Aesthetics, Genres, Gender, we shall be exploring a number of the many authors, genres, and thematic facets of the Romantic period, from responses to the French revolution in essays, poetry, and fiction to programmatic turns towards a new kind of poetry, issues of Romantic nature writing, and the Romantic imagination (also in the visual arts). Travel narratives, the concern with science, and finally the socioeconomic contexts of publishing will also be addressed. Thus, the literary versatility and (cultural) politics marking the Romantic period will come to the fore within their broader contexts; almost inevitably, gender as a critical category will play a key role.
- William Godwin, Caleb Williams, or, Things as They Are(Penguin Classics edition; please obtain your own copy)
- Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (Penguin Classics edition; please obtain your own copy)
- Shorter primary texts as well as some secondary literature will be provided on Moodle.
Seminar II will address The Writings of William Wordsworth within the broader context of Romanticism. Looking at a range of his poetry, some prose essays, travel writings, as well as his verse autobiography The Prelude (the latter in extracts only), we shall study Wordsworth’s move away from enlightenment poetics to attempt a new kind of poetry; his conceptions of self and of poetic memory; his collaborations with his sister Dorothy and with colleagues, as well as the politics of his writings. Related key issues will be Wordsworth’s concern with the natural environment against the backdrop of the changes of the English countryside and contemporary travelling and tourism. This concern has long made him the subject of interest for ecocriticism. Finally, the seminar will investigate strategies of marketing his writings as well as the process of canonization through Wordsworth’s first biographers.
Some material will be provided on Moodle. However, you need to obtain your own paperback copy of:
- William Wordsworth, The Major Works: Including The Prelude(Oxford World’s Classics).