Romanticism and Revolution
English 458H, Spring 2004
W 3:00-5:00, North Building 259

Professor: Dan White
Office: 296A NB, x. 8-5291
Office Hours: Monday 4:00-5:00, Wednesday 1:00-2:00

Course Focus: In this advanced seminar we will examine the rise of the cultural movement known as Romanticism by concentrating on the writings of the “revolutionary decade,” the 1790s. Following the fall of the Bastille in July 1789, Britons entered a dynamic and complex phase of cultural transformation. Impelled by the energies and terms of the Revolution itself and the “French Revolution debate” (between so-called “Jacobins” and “anti-Jacobins” – that is, those who supported or opposed the ideals of the French Revolution), early Romantic writers articulated and engaged with ideas concerning the rights of both men and women, the roles of government and religion, the nature of inspiration and the imagination, the relations of private (psychological, sexual, familial) life to public power, and the social circumstances of poverty and war. We will pursue an interdisciplinary consideration of visual art, political writing, drama, and propaganda alongside more conventionally literary works of poetry and fiction by a wide range of figures, canonical as well as non-canonical, from the Romantic period.

Requirements and Grading: Your grade for the term will be divided as follows: one quiz (10%), one comparative analysis (3 pp., 15%), one term test (20%), one term paper (10 pp., 35%), participation (20%). As you prepare to write your term paper, please consult "Papers: Expectations, Guidelines, Advice, and Grading."

Texts: The following texts have been ordered and are required for this course:

I have also prepared a coursepack, which may be purchased from Duplicating Services in the South Building.  Readings from the coursepack are labeled “[CP]” in the following schedule.

Week 1, January 7


Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony no. 9 in D minor, opus 125, fourth movement (text, from Friedrich Schiller, “Ode to Joy”)

Week 2, January 14

From The French Revolution: a Very Short Introduction, Chapter 3, “How It Happened”

Helen Maria Williams, from Letters Written in France (508-23)

Jacques-Louis David, “Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen,” “The Oath of the Horatii,” “The Tennis Court Oath,” “The Death of Marat” [handout]

Baudelaire, “The Divine Marat” [CP]

“Copy of the Declaration of Rights, as Finally Decreed By the National Assembly of France, On Thursday, August 27,” from the Morning Star, Friday, September 4, 1789 [CP]

Olympe de Gouge, “The Declaration of the Rights of Women” [CP]

Week 3, January 21

Mark Philp, “Revolution,” from An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age [handout]

Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France, and on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to that Event: in a Letter Intended to have been Sent to a Gentleman in Paris (13-19)

Thomas Paine, from The Rights of Man (25-28)

William Godwin, from Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness (90-95)

Mary Wollstonecraft, from Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (371-413)

Week 4, January 28

Hannah More, Village Politics (210-16), from Cheap Repository Tracts (216-20), from Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (220-23)

From Poetry of The Anti-Jacobin [CP]

James Gillray, “The Zenith of French Glory” (1793), “Copenhagen House” (1795), “London Corresponding Society, alarm’d” (1798) [handout]

Week 5, February 4

William Blake, Visions of the Daughters of Albion (294-99), to be read in our anthology and online at The William Blake Archive (under “Illuminated Books”; open the first plate of any copy and then use the “Compare” feature to pick the copy you want to read)

Week 6, February 11

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Conciones ad Populum; or Addresses to the People (684-89), from Bristol Lectures, from Lecture Six (689-91)

Coleridge and Robert Southey, The Fall of Robespierre. An Historic Drama  [CP]

Week 7, February 18 (Reading Week)

Week 8, February 25

William Godwin, Things as They Are; or, the Adventures of Caleb Williams

Week 9, March 3

Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman

Week 10, March 10

William Wordsworth, from Lyrical Ballads: from “Preface” to the Second Edition (573-81), “Goody Blake, and Harry Gill, a True Story” [handout], “The Old Beggar, a Description” [handout]; from The Prelude, from Books IX and X (643-51)

Week 11, March 17

From Code Civil des Français (later called Code Napoléon) [handout]

Byron, “Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte” (896-98), “Prometheus” (920-21)

P.B. Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1102-37)

Week 12, March 24

Mary Shelley, Valperga: or, the Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca, from beginning to Vol. II, Chapter 7

Week 13, March 31

Mary Shelley, Valperga: or, the Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca, from Vol. II, Chapter 7, to end

Week 14, April 7

Term test

Term paper (10 pp.) due, Monday, April 19, 12:00 p.m.

Daniel E. White