Fall 2016

British Romantic Poetry:  Nature and the Imagination

Listed in: English, as ENGL-343

Moodle site: Course

Faculty

Amelia S. Worsley (Section 01)

Description

Can reading poetry change our understanding of our environment?  How might the way we perceive nature be conditioned by the ways in which writers have imagined it?  In turn, how might the way we perceive our own imaginations be conditioned by ideas about the natural world?  Although “nature” might seem like a universal and unchanging concept, British Romantic writers did much to invent our modern perception of it.  This course questions what “nature” might mean, and how it developed alongside changing ideas about the imagination.

We will read the writings of William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Keats, and Felicia Hemans alongside seventeenth- and eighteenth-century theories of the imagination by David Hume, Edmund Burke, and Immanuel Kant.  We will also make frequent visits to the Mead Art gallery in order to experiment with some of these imaginative theories.  Finally, we will debate what impact this history has had on current environmental discourse, contemporary ethics, and the Green movement.  Some critics have argued, for instance, that the Romantics’ reverence for nature is more destructive than it might at first seem.  Might it be more environmentally responsible to get rid of the Romantic concept of “nature” altogether?

Fall semester.  Professor Worsley.

Keywords

Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Speaking, Writing Intensive

Offerings

2017-18: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016