English 3363

The Transcendent Romantics

Fall 2004

MWF 10:30

Dr. Elizabeth McKim Usual Office Hours: M-Th 4:00-5:00
322 Edmund Casey Hall Other times by appointment or by chance.

Mailbox: EC 302


Course Description

With their collaboratively written Lyrical Ballads in 1789, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge inaugurated a new way of writing poetry–and writing about poetry–that continues to influence poets and scholars. In this course, through lecture and discussion, we will examine the work of these poets and some of their contemporaries. Our focus will be their exploration of the transcendent imagination, and its role in the creation of both the poet and poetry.


Poetry and supplementary readings will be provided.

You are advised to obtain a good dictionary (preferably, OED) and a guide to MLA Style.


Weekly Writing 20%
Assignment 1 30%
Assignment 2 40%
Participation 10%

Weekly Writing: Most weeks, you'll be asked to do a page of reflective, informal writing about one of the texts we're studying. You'll be provided with a question or topic one week in advance. Your task is to demonstrate that you've read the text and thought about it. You'll receive full credit simply for submitting an acceptable assignment. We'll often use the assignments as the basis of discussion on the day they are due.

Assignment 1 will be an annotated bibliography of scholarly articles on a specific poem.

Assignment 2 will be an analytical paper.

Assignments must be submitted on the day they are due. Late weekly work defeats the purpose, so will not be accepted unless you were absent on the day the discussion took place. A late annotated bibliography or essay will be accepted only after prior consultation and the setting of a new due date; I reserve the right not to accept a late bibliography or essay.

Attendance is required. A sign-up sheet will circulate daily, and it is your responsibility to sign it. Students who miss more than three classes will lose the 10% participation grade. Students who miss more than six classes will receive an F for the course. Missing fewer than three classes does not guarantee that you will receive the full 10%; participation also involves playing an active role in group discussions and providing regular evidence that you have kept up with your reading and thinking.

You are expected to arrive at class on time;
frequent lateness will be reflected in your participation grade.

Topics and Readings
September 10 Introduction and Organization
September 13

The Romantic Spirit: Transcendence in Context

Elizabeth A. Fay, Excerpt from A Feminist Introduction to Romanticism
Edgell Rickword, “The Social Setting (1780-1830)”
Abraham H. Maslow, Excerpt from Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences
Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, Excerpt from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Weekly Writing #1
September 15  
September 17  
September 20 “Spots of Time”

William Wordsworth: The Prelude (1799)
David Perkins, “William Wordsworth”

Weekly Writing #2
September 22
September 24
September 27 The Prelude (1799), cont’d
Weekly Writing #3
September 29
October 1
October 4 The Greater Romantic Lyric

M.H. Abrams, “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric”
William Wordsworth: “Tintern Abbey”
David Perkins, “Dorothy Wordsworth”

Weekly Writing #4
October 6
October 8
October 11 Thanksgiving Day
October 13 Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "The Eolian Harp"
David Perkins, "Samuel Taylor Coleridge"
Weekly Writing #5
October 15
October 18 "Reflections on Having Left a Place of Retirement"
October 20 Assignment #1
October 22 No Class
October 25 STC: "This Lime-Tree Bower, My Prison"STCL "Frost at Midnight" Weekly Writing #6
October 27
October 29
November 1 STC: "The Nightingale" Weekly Writing #7
November 3
November 5
November 8 The Poet

WW: Preface to Lyrical Ballads
STC: Extracts from Biographia Literaria
Richard Kearney, Excerpt from The Wake of Imagination
Weekly Writing #8
November 10
November 12
November 15 STC: "Kubla Khan" Weekly Writing #9
November 17
November 19
November 22 Dejection
STC: "Dejection: An Ode"
Weekly Writing #10
November 24
November 26
November 29 WW: Ode: Intimations of Immortality
December 1
December 3 Assignment #2

English 1006 Introduction to Literature
English 2006 Study of Literature
English 3203 The Sound and Performance of Poetry

Elizabeth McKim / English / Faculty / STU Homepage