English 151 - Romanticism and the Sense of Place

English 151
MWF 11:45-12:50
Office hours: M 4-5; W 10-11:30, 4-5:30
and by appointment
Dr. T. Wein
405 Peters Building

Romanticism and the Sense of Place

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  What does it mean to see with Romantic eyes? What is gained or lost? English 151 proposes to answer that question by interrogating the Romantic writers' investment in and constructions of their land. Ecocriticism will form the lens through which we view Romantic conversations on topics and themes as diverse as the abolition of slavery, women's rights, education and the franchise, technology and progress, religion and science, the supernatural, superheroes, the "culture of mourning," and the ravages of war. Celebrating the imagination and the abstract, Romantic writers also sang the virtues of the concrete and physical. From the standpoint of ecocriticism, their dual or dueling enthusiasms amount to a bifold view of nature as ecosystem: at once a model of unity, of 'order and equilibrium' and/or a celebration of the 'lowly patch.' Can these two visions productively co-exist? And can they contribute to the cleansing of our own burgeoning senses of place. 


Foundational Knowledge: This category touches on the specific content of the course. It asks you to remember and understand the differences among terms, concepts, and literary styles, as well as the shapes and sounds of the literary works themselves. Acquiring a knowledge of literary terms and techniques of analysis will enable us to read more probingly and describe more compellingly what we see.
Application: Terms and concepts furnish tools to perform more effective analysis.  Application measures how well you learn to ask the right kinds of questions of the material and to supply answers to those problems. 
Integration: Because literature neither gets created nor read in a vacuum, it requires the incorporation of different disciplines, ideas, and realms of life in order to be properly analyzed and appreciated. Integration aims to make this course contribute to your holistic growth in college. 
Recognizing the Human Dimension: The Humanities have a built-in advantage in presenting this learning goal. Because we learn about a group of peoples over the course of half a century, this course should enhance your understanding of what it means to be human. However, the human dimension takes a variety of shapes, some of which disguises their true purpose or values. Therefore, we will read these works with an eye to their generic qualities as well as with an ear to the social contracts those generic qualities insinuate about relations of gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationhood.
Learning how to Learn: If I had to choose, I would select this as the most important goal, one that subsumes all the others. If you master this skill, this course will pay dividends to you long after you graduate.


1. Foundational Knowledge:  By the end of the class, students will have learned the key terms within the poetic tradition and the key concerns of Romanticism.
2.  Application: From our extra-literary readings and our close readings and discussion of the primary texts, students will demonstrate their ability to apply what they have learned by leading class presentations and by performing individual interpretation and analysis.
3. Integration: For students of English literature, the course will provide breadth in an area normally scanted. Moreover, because the Romantics were interested in all domains of thought, students will learn about 19th century syncretism and apply it to their own lives.  
4. Recognizing the Human Dimension: Through their final project, students will identify 21st-century analogues to their own lives in the Romantic period and develop a comparative assessment.    
5. Learning how to Learn: In their homework, their class-work, and their final project, students will learn how to put together questions and answers for themselves.

COURSE POLICIES: Attendance is mandatory. More than 6 absences will result in a grade of F for the course. Late arrivals or early leave-takings will count as one-third of an absence. All written work outside of class must be typed, double-spaced, to be accepted. You will not be able to make up any missed informal or in-class assignments. I will accept late filing of papers, but no later than one class period. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade. All work must be completed before the end of the semester in order to pass the course.

Class participation (attendance; contributions to class discussion; group work; possible quizzes; in-class exercises and homework) = 20%
Essay 1 (1-2 pages), due January 17 = 10%
Essay 2 (3-4 pages), due March 21 = 15%
Essay 3 (research paper, 8-10 pages), due April 30 = 25%
Group oral presentation (weeks of April 2-30)= 15%
Final Exam= 15%

KEY TO THE SYLLABUS: Reading assignments will be the topic of discussion and focus of work for the day listed. Therefore, you should have set aside ample time to have read the assignment in its entirety before class. Ideally, you should have read at least parts of it more than once. We will work on reading strategies to help you maximize your time and energy. Written assignments are homework that will be given to you at the class prior to the date they are listed as being due on the syllabus; generally, they are specific exercises geared to the readings and designed to give you mastery over different techniques of analysis and interpretation. The phrase "In-class exercise" means just that; I list them to indicate the target lesson for the day, and to alert you to what you might be missing if you are absent.


Bureaucratic course description and prerequisites: English 151 is a 4-unit, upper-division course applicable to the English major. Students should have met the University's Composition Requirement (English 1 or the equivalent) before enrolling in this course. Since English 105 provides tools of literary analysis and theoretical contexts appropriate to our study, its completion is encouraged but not required before enrolling in English 151.

Aids to learning: I have no problem with your tape-recording classes. Please let me and the University know if you have learning challenges that require other accommodations, so we can be of assistance.

Technology: It is University policy that you have access to a computer with a modem and Internet connection, and e-mail account, and a printer. Classroom assignments presume that your access is available 24/7.  

Cheating and Plagiarism: I support the University's policy on academic dishonesty because cheating and plagiarism fail to honor your own abilities or the hard work of others. The study of literature enters us into a community; by its very nature, it pays respect to the thoughts and words of those who came before us. Please familiarize yourself with that section of the CSUF general catalogue pertaining to cheating and plagiarism, and be warned that any instance of academic dishonesty will be punished with all possible severity. 

Disruptive Classroom Behavior: For reasons similar to those given above, I value the University statement on classroom integrity, so much so that I reproduce it here: "The classroom is a special environment in which students and faculty come together to promote learning and growth. It is essential to this learning environment that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained . . . Differences of viewpoint or concerns should be expressed in terms which are supportive of the learning process, creating an environment in which students and faculty may learn to reason with clarity and compassion, to share of themselves without losing their identities, and to develop an understanding of the community in which they live. . . . Student conduct which disrupts the learning process shall not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary Action and /or removal from the class." For more information on University policies, refer to the Schedule of Courses or the University Catalogue (Policies and Regulations).
I consider cell phones and beepers disruptive in the extreme, a pollutant to our environment. Leave them at home or turn them off.

Subject to change: I reserve the right to modify the syllabus and schedule of readings/assignments as I see fit to better serve the goals of the course. If you are absent, you are responsible to check for any pertinent announcements or changes before the next class.

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey. Harmondsworth: Penguin, Books, 1995.
Radcliffe, Ann. The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Wolfson, Susan and Peter J. Manning, eds. The Longman Anthology of British Literature.  Vol. 2A: The Romantics and their Contemporaries. 2nd edition. New York: Addison- Wesley Educational Publishers, 2003.

Schedule of Readings


Monday 13. Intro to the course. Homework assignment: visit a place you love or that is meaningful to you, and describe that place in whatever way you see fit to best convey its charm, beauty, or meaningfulness to the reader. 
Wednesday 15. Readings: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Aeolian Harp,"
"This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison."
Friday 17. Readings: Anna Letitia Barbauld, "The Mouse's Petition to Dr. Priestley"; Robert Burns, "To A Mouse." Written assignment: Essay 1 (description of your sacred place) due.

20 Monday MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY - campus closed.
22 Wed. Readings: William Gilpin, from Essay 1, on Picturesque Beauty (pp. 506-8); William Blake, from Songs of Innocence: "Introduction," "The Echoing Green," "The Lamb," "Nurse's Song." Homework: Answer the following question briefly. 1. How are the speakers in these pems 'made innocent'? 
24 Fri. Readings: Blake, from Songs of Innocence: "The Little Black Boy," "The Chimney-Sweeper," "HOLY THURSDAY."  

27 Mon. Readings: Blake, from Songs of Experience: "HOLY THURSDAY," "The Chimney Sweeper"; Charles Lamb, from The Praise of Chimney–Sweepers. Homework: Answer the following questions briefly. 2. Does "Holy Thursday" in Experience deny the possibility that art produces joy (ll. 5-8)? 3. Do the poems of Experience condemn art or science more strongly? Where does religion fit in?
29 Wed. Readings: Blake, from Songs of Experience: "London," "The Tyger," "Nurse's Song" (hand-out).
31 Fri. The technology of Blake's art - Meditations on technology and progress. Readings: William Wordsworth, Preface to The Lyrical Ballads, "Simon Lee." Homework: pick out one main point in the Preface. Summarize it in your own words.


1 Saturday Chinese New Year
3 Mon. Readings: Wordsworth, "We Are Seven," Resolution and Independence."
5 Wed. Readings: Dorothy Wordsworth, from Grasmere Journals,  A Leech-Gatherer (p. 479), A Field of Daffodils (hand-out).
7 Fri. Readings: Wordsworth, "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey."

10 Mon. Readings: Wordsworth, "Michael."
12 Wed. Readings: William Gilpin, from Essay 2, on Picturesque Travel; Helen Maria Williams, from Letters Written in France, in the Summer of 1790.
14 Fri. Readings: Radcliffe, Castles, chapters 1-3 (pp. 3-32).

17 Mon. PRESIDENTS' DAY - campus closed.
19 Wed. Readings: Radcliffe, Castles, chapters 4-7 (pp. 33-66).
Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind"
21 Fri. Readings: Radcliffe, Castles, chapters 8-end (pp. 67-113).

The dangers and desires of the imagination.

24 Mon. Readings: John Keats, "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer," "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles." Homework: research the current debate over the "Elgin" marbles and be ready to report on it.
26 Wed. Readings: Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes."
28 Fri. Readings: Jonathan Bate, from "Culture and Environment: From Austen to Hardy," pp. 557-8 (hand-out); Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France.


3 Mon. Readings: Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
5 Wed. Readings: Coleridge, Christabel.
7 Fri. Readings: Coleridge, "Kubla Khan."

Nature in Revolution

10 Mon. Readings: William Gilpin, from Essay 3: "On Sketching Landscape" Mary Robinson, "January, 1795"; Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias." Added Kant selections in our text as an in-class reading and explication/summarizing exercise.
12 Wed. Readings: Shelley, "Mont Blanc."
14 Fri. Readings:  Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn."

17 Mon. Purim begins tonight Readings: George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 3.
19 Wed. Readings: Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 4.
21 Fri. Readings: Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind." Essay 2 due

24 Mon - 28 Fri SPRING RECESS.
31 Monday CESAR CHAVEZ HOLIDAY - campus closed.


Women and the Ravages of War
Conferences for Essay #3 begin
2 Wed. Readings: James Pinkerton, "Enviromanticism: the poetry of nature as a political force" (hand-out); Felicia Hemans, "The Wife of Asdrubal," "Casabianca." 
4 Fri. Readings:  Mary Wollstonecraft, from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Homework: Topic Proposal due.

7 Mon. Readings: Ann Yearsley, "A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave-Trade."
9 Wed. Readings: Hannah More and Eaglesfield Smith, "The Sorrows of Yamba"; William Cowper, "Sweet Meat has Sour Sauce."
11 Fri. Readings: Joanna Baillie, from Plays on the Passions. Homework: Annotated bibliographies due.

14 Mon. Readings: Byron, Manfred.
16 Wed. 1st night of Passover. No class
18 Fri. Readings: Byron, Manfred.

20 Sunday Easter
21 Mon. Readings: Jonathan Bate, from "Culture and Environment: From Austen to Hardy," pp. 541-50 (hand-out). Austen, Northanger Abbey, chapters 1-9 (13-63).
23 Wed. Readings: Austen, chapters 10-15 ( 64-111).
25 Fri. Readings: Austen, Vol. II, chapters 1-5 (115-42).

28 Mon. Readings: Austen, chapters 6-9 (143-72).
30 Wed. Readings: Austen, chapters 10-end (173-219). Homework : Essay #3 due.


2 Fri. Readings:  Shelley, from A Defence of Poetry. Homework assignment: Revisit your sacred place from the beginning of the semester and describe it again. Have you acquired "Romantic eyes"? If so, what has been gained and lost? 
5 Mon. Readings: Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality"; J. S. Mill, from Autobiography (hand–out).

8 Thurs - 9 Fri Final exam preparation and faculty consultation days.

14 Wed.  Final exam. 1:15-3:15


There are many fine scholarly web-sites devoted to Romantic topics.I highly recommend the Romantic Circles site (http://www.rc.umd.edu) and the Voice of the Shuttle, among others.

These websites may help you understand the readings from the course or to improve your research and writing skills. However, they should not form the sole basis of your research for the final essay.

Writing papers for literature classes:

MLA and other documentation styles online:

Help with grammar and mechanics:

How to evaluate Internet sources:

The Voice of the Shuttle (one of the most reliable and comprehensive Internet resource for humanities research):

Henry Madden Library, CSU Fresno: