Course Descriptions

ENG 3348

Romantic Poetry and Fiction

Traynor Hansen

MWF 1:00–2:20 p.m. 

This course takes as its focus the poetry and prose (both fictional and non-fictional) of the Romantic Period—a span of just a few decades at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, when then promise of the Enlightenment gave way to the terror of the French Revolution, the anxiety of the Napoleonic Wars, and Britain’s rapidly expanding colonialist empire.

While the Romantic Period tends to be heavily anthologized—pulling essays, letters, and poems out of their context—this course offers an opportunity to slow down and explore representative works as coherent wholes. Our narrow focus will bring us a little closer to the writers’ original historical, cultural, and social contexts.

By reading and writing about these texts as wholes, rather than piecemeal, we will work together to encounter the radical aesthetics, heightened emotion, and intimate language that shaped this short but intense moment of British literary history. We will encounter and question many of the hallmarks of what we tend to consider Romantic, such as “Imagination,” “Individualism,” and “Nature,” which were still emerging and being negotiated by the writers who lived in this politically and socially intense period. The goal for this course is to make you more informed, confident, and active readers of the literature of Romanticism and, in the process, to equip you with and strengthen your use of the disciplinary skills expected of English scholars.


Writing on the window of an English classroom

How to Read a Poem

English Professor Susan Van Zanten gives you a quick guide on how to get the most out of reading poetry.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice