Dr. L. Adam Mekler 
English 315: The English Romantic Period
Independent Study
Spring 2016
Meeting Time: Tuesday, 9 -11 am

Office:  Holmes Hall 228
Office Phone: (443) 885-4032
Email@Morgan: adam.mekler@morgan.edu
Class Homepage: http://l-adam-mekler.com/315links.htm
Go To Assigments For:
January/February  March April  May 

This course focuses on British literature of the Romantic era, a period that extends roughly from 1789 (the beginning of the French Revolution) until 1832 (passage of the Reform Bill).  Although the primary focus will be on the literature itself, which we will discuss in great detail, we will also incorporate consideration not only of historical context, but also biographical and intellectual factors as well.

English 315 aims to teach students to:

After completing English 315, students should be able to:
  1. evaluate the influence of historical and biographical events on the writings of the figures of the Romantic period.
  2. analyze the texts produced during the period in terms of representative themes.
  3. distinguish between different texts in terms of their aesthetic, political, and philosophical viewpoints.
  4. produce effective arguments, in both oral and written forms, regarding the literature of the period.
Student learning will be assessed using the following assignments:

  • Class Participation
  • Homework
  • Critical Response Paper
  • Midterm Exam
  • Student Presentation
  • Research Paper
  • Final Exam
  • 10 %
  • 10 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 10 %
  • 20 %
  • 20 %


Attendance. Students are expected to attend every class. If you are forced to miss class, written verification for the reason for your absence is expected. Because of the importance of regular attendance, excessive (more than three) unexcused class absences will result in the loss of points from the final average. Excessive lates will also lower your grade. The complete attendance policy can be found on the class homepage . Please come speak with me if you have any questions.

Reading Assignments, Homework, and Participation.  Students are required to bring all necessary books with them to class.  On-line versions are available for most readings, so economic hardship, while certainly a reality for many of us, does not constitute a valid excuse in this context.  Please come speak with me if you have any questions.

All assigned readings must be completed before coming to class.  You are expected to submit typed responses to all assigned homework questions for the readings at the beginning of class. You are also expected to arrive prepared to provide thoughtful discussions of the daily readings, responding to questions from the instructor or your classmates as they arise.  Classroom discussion will involve the open sharing of ideas and interpretations of the literature.  Because every person's opinion is valid, we will demonstrate civility and respect for each other, taking turns to provide our observations and not interrupting each other.  Only raised hands will be acknowledged.

Writing Assignments. There will be one (1) brief (800 word minimum) critical response paper,  in addition to one (1) documented research paper (2500 word minimum), using a minimum of eight documented sources, six of which must be secondary sources.

All papers will follow MLA format: Typed, double-spaced, use parenthetical citations and, when necessary, a list of works cited, including references made to the textbook. (Sample MLA Papers can be found on the homepage )  The main point of the response papers is to allow you the opportunity to explore specific aspects of texts that you find interesting in terms of the major themes and issues we discuss, but the specific focus is largely up to you.

Oral presentations. Students will also take part in a presentation of a minimum twenty minutes to be given during the second part of the course. These presentations will require the students to discuss all relevant historical and biographical background information and present a thoughtful and critical explanation of the reading, one that moves beyond simple plot summary and instead addresses the text's important themes, arguments, and literary techniques, including, if necessary, an explanation of the text's connection to other works that we might have read or other significant works of the period.  Your ability to provide thoughtful responses to questions from your classmates and/or instructor will also be an important factor.

Reading List (Subject to Subtle Revision):

Course Introduction 
Brief Historical Background

Editors' Introduction, 3-30

French Revolution Video

The French Revolution 
"The Revolution Controversy," 183-84
Price, 183-87
Burke, 187-94

Wollstonecraft, 194-99
Paine, 199-203
Blake, 112-16
Songs of Innocence and Experience:
"The Chimney Sweeper," 121-22, 128
"The Tyger," 129-30
"London," 132-33

Wordsworth, 270-72
Preface to Lyrical Ballads, 292-304

WW, " Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," 288-92 and

WW, ""Ode: Intimations of Immortality," 335-41

Coleridge, 437-39
"Ancient Mariner," 443-59

STC, "Kubla Khan," 459-62

STC, "Christabel," 462-77

STC, "Dejection:  An Ode," 479-83
The Abolition Movement, 88-89
Clarkson, 91-95
STC, "On the Slave Trade," 108-10

Equiano, 98-105

Blake, "The Little Black Boy," 120-21
WW, "To Toussaint L'Ouverture," 345-46
WW, "September 1, 1802," 346

Female Voices
Wollstonecraft, from Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 208-39

Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmere Journals, 402-15
WW, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," 334-35
15 Critical Response Paper Due

Midterm Examination

Jane Austen, Emma,  incl. Introduction
March 18
Research Topic Due 


** BREAK**

** NO CLASS **

The Younger Generation
Lord Byron, 612-16 and
Manfred, 638-72

Byron,  Don Juan, Dedication, 672-73 and
Canto I, 673-704

Percy Shelley, 748-51
"from A Defence of Poetry," 856-69
(Recommended: Peacock's "Four Ages of Poetry")

PBS, "Ode to the West Wind," 791-93
"To a Sky-Lark," 834-36

PBS, Prometheus Unbound, 793-832

Hemans, 884-85
"Bride of the Greek Isle" (handout)
"Properzia Rossi," 890-93

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, incl. Introduction ix-xviii
Author's Introduction, 165-69
Last Day to Have Final Research Paper Topic Approved

 Keats, 901-3
 Endymion, 906-10
Letters, 967-77

 Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale," 927-29
"Ode on a Grecian Urn," 930-31
Research Paper Due by 5 pm
as MS Word attachment.

Final Exam
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