EN227 Romantic and Victorian Poetry
Convenor 2014-2015: Dr Michael Meeuwis
(Dear students: I'm in the process of revising this website for the new year. The readings are set and will almost certainly not change, but other elements may. -MM)
This module is an optional core for English Literature and Theatre Studies year 2 students. It is also a Pathway Approved Option for the English Pathway and a Distrbutional Requirement for the Theory, World and North American Pathways.
Important information for new students
From October 2014, Romantic and Victorian Poetry will be run as an hour and a half seminar, and not a seminar/lecture module. The syllabus will remain focused on late eighteenth and nineteenth-century poetry, but with a greater emphasis on current critical debates and reading.
This module focuses on significant poets from the Romantic and Victorian periods and situates their work within the cultural, social, political, economic, scientific and aesthetic debates of the period. You will need to pay close attention to both formal and contextual dimensions of the poems. The set texts are nearly all in the anthologies, except for one or two, which can be accessed by clicking on the links on the set texts page. You are welcome and encouraged to read other poems written in the period 1780-1900 in addition to the set texts.
Recommended introductory reading
Recommended introductions to the period include: Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics (1993); Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries (1982); and Stuart Curran, Poetic Form and British Romanticism (1986).
Useful historical prose includes: Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757); Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869): Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859); Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791); Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The books of Genesis, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Job in the Hebrew Bible; the book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible (all preferably in the King James Version).
The module is assessed 50% by coursework and 50% by a 2-hour summer examination: this is assessment route (C). The coursework comprises 2 essays: (1) an unassessed close reading essay, 1500 words (submission of this essay is a requirement of the module); (2) an assessed research-based essay, 5000 words, 50% of your final mark.
You need to buy two books: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume D, The Romantic Period, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (W. W. Norton & Co, 2012); and The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume E, The Victorian Age, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (W. W. Norton & Co, 2012). Copies of both volumes are available at a slightly discounted price at the University bookshop.
This module is a Pathway Approved Option for the English Pathway and one of the Distributional Requirement options for the Theory, World and North American Pathways for 2013/14.
William Blake, 'Glad Day'