Romantic Revolutions in Europe: Syllabus

Romantic Revolutions in Europe: an Eight-Day Teaching Unit

Required Text: Longman Anthology of British Literature: the Romantics and their Contemporaries, eds. Susan Wolfson and Peter Manning, vol. 2A (New York: Longman, 2003)

  • Day 1: Introduction to Romantic Movement
  • Reading: "The Romantics and their Contemporaries," 1-29; W. Blake: "All Religions are One," "There is No Natural Religion," 112-18; Biographies of the Godwin Circle (M. Wollstonecraft, 227-29; Godwin, 91; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 992-94; P. B. Shelley 752-54)
  • Day 2: The French Revolution
  • Reading: Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France, 56-66; Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 67-76; Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 84-91; Coleridge, "Jacobinism" and "Once a Jacobin Always a Jacobin" 582-86; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, 76-84; Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 91-96
  • External links: France's Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen; U.S. Declaration of Independence
  • In-class Writing assignment: Write a dramatic sketch between Burke and Wollstonecraft in pairs. Your setting is a coffeehouse, where the two meet by chance and discuss the French Revolution.
  • Day 3: The French Revolution and English Dramatic Writing
  • Reading: Hannah More, Village Politics, 100-107; P. B. Shelley, The Cenci (online: Acts I-V); "England in 1819," 761
  • Day 4: The Woman Question
  • Reading: Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 229-54; Anna Letitia Barbauld, "The Rights of Woman," 272-73, R. Southey, "To Mary Wollstonecraft," 273-74, R. Polwhele, "The Unsex'd Females," 275-80; Mary Ann Radcliffe, The Female Advocate, 284-90; Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, 291-97; Mary Lamb, Letter to The British Lady's Magazine
  • In-class Writing Assignment on Online Discussion Board (
  • Half of the class (last names A-L) should write an "Anti-Jacobin" response to either Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Men or A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Godwin's An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, or Paine's Rights of Man, taking on the persona of a contemporary parson for the Church of England, Richard Polwhele, Edmund Burke, Hannah More, or another persona of your choosing. The other half of the class should respond to these critiques in the personae of Wollstonecraft, Godwin, or Paine.
  • External Links: Olympe de Gouges (online), Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen; Mary Robinson (online), A Letter to the Women of England, eds. Adriana Craciun, Anne Irmen Close, Megan Musgrave, and Orianne Smith
  • Day 5: Women & Revolution
  • Reading: Elizabeth Inchbald, The Massacre (online: Acts I-III), eds. Thomas C. Crochunis and Michael Eberle-Sinatra, with an Introduction by Danny O'Quinn. British Women Playwrights around 1800. 15 April 1999
  • External links: Daniel J. O'Quinn, "Elizabeth Inchbald's The Massacre: Tragedy, Violence and the Network of Political Fantasy," (online) British Women Playwrights around 1800. 1 June 1999.
  • Day 6: Slavery and Abolitionism in England
  • Reading: Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, 159-69; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, 169-74; William Blake, "Little Black Boy," 121 and "The Chimney Sweeper," 122; Dorothy Wordsworth, Thomas Clarkson, William Wordsworth on slavery and abolitionism, 198-213
  • External Links: Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 at the Library of Congress, Bruce Fort's resources on American Slave Narratives, Focus on the Slave Trade at BBC Online
  • Day 7: Slavery and Abolitionism in France
  • Reading: Olympe de Gouges, "Black Slavery, or the Happy Shipwreck" from Translating Slavery: Gender and Race in French Women's Writing, 1783-1823, trans. Maryann Dejulio, eds. Doris Kadish and Françoise Massardier-Kenney, (Kent, Ohio and London: The Kent State UP, 1994), 87-132.
  • External links: Touissant l'Ouverture: a Biography and Autobiography
  • Day 8: Essay on Romantic Revolutionaries and their Personae or Revolutionary Violence and Romantic Drama due