First-Year Studies: Romantic Poetry and Its Legacies

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In this course, we will be reading and discussing the most influential poets writing in English from William Blake to T. S. Eliot. One of the assumptions of the course is that modern poetry originates in the Romantic era. In the wake of the French Revolution, Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge invented a new kind of autobiographical poem that largely internalized the myths they inherited. We will trace the impact of their work on poets from the second generation of Romantics through the early modernists, many of whom sought to break with Romanticism. Our preeminent goal will be to appreciate each poet’s—indeed, each poem’s—unique contribution to the language. Our understanding of literary and historical trends will emerge from the close, imaginative reading of texts. Authors will include: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Whitman, Dickinson, Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, Frost, Stevens, Yeats, and T. S. Eliot.