Topic: Virtual Romanticism: Literature and Imagination 1780-1840

 Critical Essay

Respond to one of the questions below in a 2,500-word critically informed essay. You must illustrate your discussion with close textual reference to two texts: one from Group A and one from Group B.

Group A Group B
Wordsworth, The Prelude  (1799, or 1805) Byron, Don Juan, Cantos 1-3
Coleridge, ‘Ancient Mariner’ DeQuincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
Blake, Visions of the Daughters of Albion Hemans, Records of Women  (1-2 relevant poems)
Wollstonecraft, Letters from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (a unit of 2-4 letters from the following:  1-2

[arrival]

; 3-6 [Sweden]; 13-14 [Christiana]; 18-22 [Copenhagen]; or another choice approved by the module leader.

Shelley, Masque of Anarchy; OR Adonais; OR ‘Mont Blanc                                                       

  1. To what extent do Romantic Period writings address Wollstonecraft’s idea that women must ‘labour, by reforming themselves, to reform the world’ (Vindication of the Rights of Women)?
  1. What is the function of extreme emotional states (for example, suffering; terror; joy; or love) in Romantic Period writings?
  • What is the function of domestic, foreign, or transnational relations and relationships in Romantic Period writings?
  • Being sure to define your term(s), develop an argument about the function of one or more of the following in Romantic Period writings: the sublime, the beautiful, the picturesque.
  • Compare the relationship between solitude and society in Romantic Period writings.
  • How do Romantic Period writings incorporate ethnic minorities or foreign nationals and for what purposes?

Notes:

1) I expect you to formulate an argument about the relationship between the works.

2) You should give equal treatment to both texts.

3) You should use criticism and theory to enhance but not overwhelm your argument.

4) All references (quotations, paraphrases, ideas) to criticism and other sources must be acknowledged using footnotes/endnotes that clearly indicate where the debt begins and ends.

5) All sources including those on the Internet must be from bona fide peer-reviewed university-level materials, and must be acknowledged in footnotes.

6) All matters of presentation and citation must follow the MHRA conventions for literature found in the at-a-glance guides on CANVAS.

Assessment Criteria:

You will be assessed on your ability to demonstrate the following skills:

1) Your ability to read texts closely and carefully; to understand, analyse and respond to the authors’ arguments, concepts and reasoning, language and formal choices;

2) Your recognition of rhetorical, political, ideological or historical conditions from which the texts emerge;

3) Your ability to use secondary sources effectively;

4) The structure of your own argument and the clarity of your writing;

5) Your grammatical use of written English and accurate use of referencing conventions.

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