Romantic Literature in British and European Contexts

LecturerKazuyoshi OISHI, Associate Professor
DepartmentSchool of Letters / Graduate School of Letters, 2011 Spring
Recommended for:School of Letters Second, Third, Fourth-year Students and Graduate School of Letters Students (21.5 hours / session One session / week 15 weeks / semester)

Key Feature

  • This course presents various aspects of Romantic Literature in British and whole European contexts. Romanticism is such a versatile literary and artistic movement, and even philosophical phenomenon, that it cannot be summarised easily in a series of fifteen lectures. Students will read some major works and study the lives of representative figures in both literary and social contexts of the age.
  • Students are expected to read literary works and some important criticisms in English during the course, and thereby learn some of the basics of literary criticism. This will contribute to advancing your English proficiency, as well as equipping you with basic techniques of interpretation.
  • Romanticism was not a literary movement in the British Isles alone. It rose and spread through the whole of Europe. This course aims to look at Romanticism in the whole European context. Students will study major Romantic poets and novelists of France, Germany, Italy, and other European countries, so that the multifaceted features of Romanticism become clear from a wider viewpoint.
  • The course also illustrates the historical context in which Romanticism arose in Europe. The American War of Independence, the French Revolution, and industrial revolutions all provided important factors which facilitated the rise of Romanticism. Students will also study important paintings and music, such as that of Turner, Beethoven, and Schubert, which will demonstrate the essence of Romanticism in some interesting ways.

Course Requirements

English proficiency is essential for this course. Students are expected to read various literary and sometimes historiographical texts in English. French and German works are usually translated into English.

Students are expected to read relevant pages of Michael Ferber's Romanticism every week, and also to study important works as discussed by Ferber.

  • Michael Ferber, Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) ISBN 978-0-19-956891-8
  • Ferber, Michael. Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP, 2010.
  • Wu, Duncan, ed. Romanticism: An Anthology. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
  • ———, ed. A Companion to Romanticism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
  • Roe, Nicholas, ed. Romanticism: An Oxford Guide. Oxford: OUP, 2005.
  • McCalman, Iain, Jon Mee, Gillian Russell, Clara Tuite, eds. An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture, 1776–1832. Oxford: OUP, 1999.

Course Schedule

Session Contents
1 Chapter 1: The Meaning of the Word, pp.1–13
2 Chapter 2: Sensibility - Sympathy, Melancholy, and Horror, pp.16–23
3 Chapter 2: Sensibility - The Cult of Ossian, pp.24–31
4 Chapter 3: The Poet - [Introduction] pp.32–34 - Eagles, pp.39–43 - Dying Poets, pp.43–47
5 Chapter 3: The Poet - Suffering Poets, pp.47–52 - Widening Meanings, pp.52–55 - Women Poets, pp.55–62
6 Chapter 4: Religion, Philosophy, and Science - [Introduction] pp.63–66 - The Religion of Nature, pp.66–70 - Greek Paganism, pp.70–72
7 [Reading Week]
8 Chapter 4: Religion, Philosophy, and Science - The Sublime, pp.72–76 - The Religion of Art, pp.76–81
9 Chapter 4: Religion, Philosophy, and Science - Idealism, pp.81–87 - Pantheism, pp.87–89
10 Chapter 4: Religion, Philosophy, and Science - Science, pp.89–92
11 Chapter 5: The Social Vision of Romanticism - [Introduction] pp.93–94 - The French Revolution, pp.94–98 - The Industrial Revolution and the Bonds of Community, pp.98–101
12 Chapter 5: The Social Vision of Romanticism - Nationalism and Internationalism, pp.101–107 - War, pp.107–109
13 Chapter 5: The Social Vision of Romanticism - The Condition of Women, pp.109–111 - The Exotic, pp.111–120
14 Chapter 6: The Arts - [Introduction] pp.121–122 - Content, pp.122–124 - Form, pp.124–127 - The Prestige of Music, pp.128–131
15 Summary / Final examination

Lecture Handouts

Note: All files except for Session #13 are in Japanese.

Session #1 The Meaning of the Word

Session #2 Sensibility (Part I)

Session #3 Sensibility (Part II)

Session #4 The Poet (Part I)

Session #5 The Poet (Part II)

Session #6 Religion, Philosophy, and Science (Part I)

Session #7 Reading Week

Session #8 Religion, Philosophy, and Science (Part II)

Session #9 Religion, Philosophy, and Science (Part III)

Session #10 The Social Vision of Romanticism (Part I)

Session #11 The Social Vision of Romanticism (Part II)

Session #12 The Exotic

Session #13 Women and Romanticism

Session #14 The Arts

Session #15 Exam


Grading will be made on the basis of students' attendance and performance in the classroom (40%) and examination (60%).

Last updated

May 08, 2020