Laker, Cockney, Satanic: Reading Romantic Schools
ENG 4203H, Fall 2004
Wednesday 4:00-6:00, Room 2001, 7 King’s College Circle

Professor: Dan White
Office: UTM 296A NB, x. 8-5291
, St. George 2215 7 KCC
Office Hours:  
UTM, Monday 4:00-5:00; St. George, Wednesday 2:00-3:00


Course Focus: Although late-twentieth-century criticism of the Romantic period tended to divide Romantic writers into two “generations,” the first presided over by Wordsworth and Coleridge (and sometimes Blake) and the second by Shelley, Keats, and Byron, during the period itself readers, writers, and reviewers tended to understand literary circles in terms of “schools.” When earlier criticism did attend to Romantic communities as “schools,” it generally accepted descriptions of them popularized by their opponents without questioning the contentious political nature of the descriptions themselves. Furthermore, the twin processes of canonization and anthologization have elevated select poems by these writers above the rest, thus effectively removing them from the contexts in which they were written, published, and received. While many canonical Romantic poems first appeared in the pages of newspapers and other periodicals, many others appeared in books, which were read and reviewed as such. In this course, then, we will focus on the particular books, newspapers, and periodicals associated with the terms Lake School, Cockney School, and Satanic School. In so doing we will also consider the reviewing industry, which shaped, interrogated, and attacked or, less frequently, defended the literary, political, and social values associated with these groups. We will thus attempt to return works of Romantic literature to the schools which produced them and the sources which disseminated them, without losing our sense of the political stakes of reading Romanticism in this way. This approach will let us reevaluate canonical works of Romantic poetry, encounter less well-known writers who were central to these groupings (Mary Robinson and Leigh Hunt, for instance), understand the political imperatives of Romantic-era literary production, reception, and consumption, and theorize models of collaboration, sociability, and publicity.

Method of Evaluation: Class participation (15%), in-class research presentation (10%), abstract (10%, 500 words), conference presentation (15%, 15 minutes followed by q & a), research paper (50%, 20 pp.).

Texts: The following texts are available for purchase at the Campus Book Store.

Available from Krishna Copy (180 Bloor West) are two coursepacks, “Primary” and “Secondary” Readings, containing those primary readings marked “[CP]” and all secondary readings (bulleted below), respectively. I have also put all of these materials on reserve at Robarts Short Term Loan, should you wish to do your own photocopying instead.

Wednesday, September 15, Introduction

James Gillray, “New Morality” (1798) [handout]

Margaret Oliphant, from The Literary History of England in the End of the Eighteenth and Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (1882) [handout]


Wednesday, September 22, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1795-1800)

A Moral and Political Lecture (1795)

Conciones ad Populum. Or Addresses to the People (1795)

From Poems on Various Subjects (1796): “Preface,” “Effusion XXXV” [“The Eolian Harp”]

From Poems, by S.T. Coleridge, Second Edition. To which are now added poems by Charles Lamb, and Charles Lloyd (1797): “Preface to the Second Edition,” “Introduction to the Sonnets,” “Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement”

From Fears in Solitude (1798): “Frost at Midnight”

From The Annual Anthology (1800): “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”

  • From George Whalley, from “England / Romantic – Romanticism,” from “Romantic” and Its Cognates / The European History of a Word

  • Lewis Patton and Peter Mann, “Introduction,” from Lectures 1795: On Politics and Religion, vol. 1 of The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Don’t forget to email your top four choices of presentation dates!

Wednesday, September 29, Lyrical Ballads and Lyrical Tales

William Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (1798)

Wordsworth, “Preface” to the 1800 edition

Reviews (Appendix C): Robert Southey, The Critical Review (October 1798); Anon., The Analytical Review (December 1798); Charles Burney, The Monthly Review (June 1799); Francis Wrangham (?), The British Critic (October 1799); John Stoddart, The British Critic (February 1801)

Mary Robinson, Lyrical Tales (1800): “All Alone,” “The Poor, Singing Dame,” “The Haunted Beach”

Review of Lyrical Tales (1800) in the Monthly Review (September 1801)

  • Marilyn Butler, “Culture’s Medium: The Role of the Review,” from The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism

  • Jon Klancher, “Introduction: Historical Audiences and Social Theory,” from The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790-1832

Wednesday, October 6, Thalaba and the “Lake School”

Robert Southey, Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) [CP]

Reviews: The British Critic (September 1801); The Monthly Mirror (October 1801); The Monthly Magazine (January 1802); Francis Jeffrey, The Edinburgh Review (October, 1802); William Taylor, The Critical Review (December 1803)  [CP]

Francis Jeffrey, review of Wordsworth’s Poems, in Two Volumes (1807), from The Edinburgh Review (October 1807); Edinburgh Review (August 1817) [CP]

William Hazlitt, from “On the Living Poets” [CP]

  • Tim Fulford, “Introduction, from Thalaba the Destroyer, vol. 3 of Robert Southey: Poetical Works 1793-1810


Wednesday, October 13, Leigh Hunt and Z.

Leigh Hunt, The Story of Rimini [CP]

John Gibson Lockhart (“Z.”), “On the Cockney School of Poetry” I-III, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1817-18) [CP]

Hazlitt, “On Gusto,” “Originality,” “On Poetry in General”

  • Jeffrey Cox, “Introduction: or, The visionary Company, Inc.,” “The Cockney School Attacks: or, the Antiromantic Ideology,” from Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Keats, Shelley, Hunt and their Circle

Wednesday, October 20, The Cockney Keats

John Keats, Endymion: A Poetic Romance (1818)

Hunt, “Young Poets” and review of Keats’ Poems (1817), from The Examiner (1816-17) [CP]

Lockhart (“Z.”), “On the Cockney School of Poetry” IV, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1818) [CP]

John Wilson Croker, review of Endymion, in The Quarterly Review (1818) [CP]

  • Duncan Wu, “Keats and the Cockney School,” from The Cambridge Companion to Keats

  • William Keach, “Cockney Couplets: Keats and the Politics of Style,” Studies in Romanticism

Wednesday, October 27, Keats’ 1820 Volume

Keats, Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820); see p. 488 in Stillinger for contents

John Scott, review of Keats’ 1820 volume, in The London Magazine (1820) [CP]

  • Cox, “Lamia, Isabella, and The Eve of St. Agnes,” from The Cambridge Companion to Keats


Wednesday, November 3, Byron’s Don Juan in 1819

Byron, from Don Juan, Dedication and Cantos I-II (1819)

Southey, Preface to A Vision of Judgement [CP]

Reviews of Don Juan I-II: Leigh Hunt, in The Examiner (1819); Anon., in The Edinburgh Monthly Review (1819); Anon., in The Investigator (1821) [CP]

Hunt, from The Liberal, “Preface,” “Advertisement to the Second Volume” [CP]

  • James Chandler, “Byron’s Causes: The Moral Mechanics of Don Juan,” from England in 1819

Wednesday, November 10, P.B. Shelley and the Cave of Prometheus

  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1820)

Shelley, A Defence of Poetry (1821)

Reviews of Prometheus Unbound: John Gibson Lockhart, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (1820); Anon., in London Magazine (1820) [CP]

  • Kim Wheatley, “Prometheus Unbound: Reforming the Reviewers,” from Shelley and His Readers: Beyond Paranoid Politics

Abstracts due (except for those who will present on P.B. or M. Shelley)

Wednesday, November 17, Mary Shelley’s Schools of Human Nature

  Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Reviews of Frankenstein: Walter Scott, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Review (1818); John Wilson Croker, in Quarterly Review (1818) [CP]

  • Gary Kelly, “Politicizing the Personal: Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and the Coterie Novel,” from Mary Shelley in Her Times

Abstracts due (for those who will present on P.B. or M. Shelley)

Wednesday, November 24, Mini-Conference

Session 1

Wednesday, December 1, Mini-Conference

Session 2

Wednesday, December 8, Mini-Conference

Session 3

Friday, December 17, Research Papers Due in English Office by Noon


Daniel E. White