November 2010

"Teaching Romanticism"

I have enjoyed reading this collective blog, and I have anticipated with pleasure making my own contributions. And anticipated, and anticipated.

I've found myself having trouble rustling up a post on teaching Romanticism, however, because I am not teaching Romanticism.  During the week before Thanksgiving break, a typical one in many ways, I taught King Lear in one class, taught White Teeth in another, and worked as department chair to host external reviewers whose visit was the culmination of a self-study.

That was a pretty good week, all in all, but it didn't lend itself to posting fresh insights about teaching Wordsworth. Those insights may come: I do teach a Romanticism seminar in the spring, and I'll go to London next fall to teach a literature-in-place course linked to a colleague's ecology-in-place course.

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The Critic in the Classroom: "Tintern Abbey"

When I teach Wordsworth’s  “Tintern Abbey,” I give students a handout with excerpts from three essays about the poem:

“Everyone knows that "Tintern Abbey" is a sad poem…” Quinney, Laura.  “Sensibility, and the Self-Disenchanted Self in ‘Tintern Abbey.’”  ELH 64.1

"Tintern Abbey" has a temporal structure of absence and presence which is folded upon itself and projected into the future as we move from memory to imagination: grammatically, the poem moves from the "present perfect," where the "past" is recuperable, to the "future" tense at the poem's close, where the present situation is imagined as already "past."

Lawder, Bruce. “Secret(ing) Conversations: Coleridge and Wordsworth.” New Literary History 32.1 (2001) 67-89.

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