Course No. and Title:  ENGL 712: The Shelley-Godwin Circle
Term: Fall 2012
Instructor’s Name: L. Adam Mekler, Ph. D.
Office: Holmes Hall 228
Phone: 443.885.4032
Classroom: Communications Center 117
Office Hours: MWF10-10:50, T 11-1:50, and by appointment
Class Homepage: http://l-adam-mekler.com712links.htm

Course Description:

This course will provide in-depth examination of the writings of some of the most important writers of the second generation of British Romantics, centering specifically on the circle formed by Mary Godwin Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron, but also briefly examining the influence of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin on the Shelleys in particular.

Course Objectives:

This course will emphasize the importance of critical and analytical skills in examining Romantic-era literature within its historical, interpersonal, and literary contexts.  Students will be expected to utilize their own interpretive abilities in addition to demonstrating the capacity to engage in research of secondary source criticism to inform their in-class discussion and presentations as well as the written requirements for the course.

Teaching Methods and Activities:

Students will be expected to do the following:

Course Requirements and Student Evaluation: Grading Scale:

Weekly Response Papers: 10 %

Critical Response Paper 10 % A: 90-100

Oral Presentation: 20 % B: 80-89

Class Participation:  20 % C: 70-79

Critical Research Paper: 20 % F: 0-69

Final Examination 20 %
Required Texts:

Reading List:
  • (sl): St. Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century
  • (cw): Caleb Williams; or, Things as They Are
  • (bpp): Byron's Poetry and Prose
  • (spp): Shelley’s Poetry and Prose
  • (veb): The Vampyre and Ernestus Berchtold
  • (of): The Original Frankenstein
  • : On-line source
Aug 24 Course Introduction

31 William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (cw): 483-98
Things As They Are, or Caleb Williams
Recommended: Collings, “The Romance of the Impossible,” esp. 847-63
Sept 7
Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (sl): 455-59
St. Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century
Recommended: Collings, “The Romance of the Impossible” esp. 863-71

14 Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Cantos 1-2 (bpp):  21-97
Recommended: Elledge, “Chasms in Connections”
Deadline to Select Topic for Brief Oral Presentation

21 Percy Shelley,
Queen Mab (spp): 15-71
Alastor (spp): 71-90 
“On Love” (spp):  503-4 
“Mont Blanc” (spp): 96-101
Recommended: Ferber, “Alastor” (spp): 654-63

Lord Byron, “A Fragment” (“Augustus Darvell”) (vep): 231-36
PBS, Ghost Story fragments (vep): 236-40
John Polidori,  The Vampyre  (vep): 37-59
Ernestus Berchtold (vep): 61-170
Diary of Dr. John William Polidori
Recommended: Bainbridge, “Lord Ruthven's Power”
Oct 5
Mary Shelley,  Frankenstein  (of): 16-443
Recommended: Robinson, Introduction to Frankenstein Notebooks (handout)

12 Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 3 (bpp): 196-229
Manfred (bpp): 247-83
Recommended: Manning, “The Sublime Self” (bpp): 898-919
Critical Response Paper Due

Percy Shelley,
“To Constantia” (spp): 107-9 
“Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills” (spp): 110-19 
“Julian & Maddalo” (spp):  119-35 
“The Sensitive Plant” (spp): 286-95
“Ode to the West Wind” (spp): 297-301
Recommended: Everest, “Shelley's Doubles” (spp): 675-83

26 Lord Byron,  “Prometheus” (bpp): 239-41
Percy Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (spp): 202-86
Recommended: Webb, “The Unascended Heaven” (spp): 694-711
Deadline for Research Paper Abstracts
Nov 2
Lord Byron, Don Juan, 1-5 (bpp): 375-553
Recommended: Graham, “Nothing so Difficult” (bpp): 943-55

Don Juan, 9-17, passim (bpp): 554-682
Recommended: Wolfson, “Their She-Condition” (bpp): 955-72

16 Mary Shelley, Valperga
Recommended: Maunu, “Connecting Threads”

23 Thanksgiving Break:  No Class

Mary Shelley, Matilda (handout)
“The Transformation”
“The Mortal Immortal”
Byron, The Deformed Transformed
Recommended: Cantor, “Mary Shelley and the Taming of the Byronic Hero” (handout)
Final Examination

10 Final Research Paper Due