Girly girls, supermen, tough-talking viragos, queer fairies and
cross-dressers are all part of the celebrated cast we’ll meet this
semester as we read poetry, novels and essays of the Romantic period.
What was it about the 1790s that caused all hell to break loose in the
field of British letters anyway? Edmund Burke blamed the French, but the
revolutions on English soil were just as colorful if a lot less bloody.
In this course, we’ll be reading work by canonical big six – such as
Wordsworth and Byron – and by their noncanonical – but just as fiery –
counterparts such as Inchbald and Landon as we focus on the reactionary,
radical, transgressive and just plain weird constructions of gender
people created during one of the most explosive periods of British
We will explore many digital
representations of nineteenth-century culture in order to orient our
historical context. In addition, we will be guided by selections from
Marilyn Gaull’s English Romanticism: The Human Context. This
course serves as both an introduction to Romantic studies as well as an
exploration of particular themes within its literature.
Required Books & Materials
Abrams, M.H., ed. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 8th ed. Heinle,
Edgeworth, Maria. Belinda. Ed. Kathryn J. Kirkpatrick. Oxford:
Oxford UP, 1999.
Gaull, Marilyn. English Romanticism: The Human Context. W.W.
Norton & Co., 1988.
Godwin, William. Memoirs of the Author of Vindication of the Rights
of Woman. Eds. Pamela Clemmit and Gina Luria Walker. Toronto:
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 5th ed. Bedford/St.
Martin's, 2002. (Recommended)
Inchbald, Elizabeth. A Simple Story. Ed. J.M.S. Tompkins. Oxford:
Oxford UP, 1998.
Mellor, Anne K. Romanticism and Gender. New York: Routledge,
Mellor, Anne and Richard Matlak, eds. British Literature 1780-1830.
Thomson Heinle & Heinle, 1996.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. The Last Man. Ed. Morton Paley.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. Letters Written During a Short Residence in
Sweden, Norway and Denmark. (Either find a used edition or print
UVA's E-Text Center.)
Most of the above texts are
on reserve at King Library. All of the secondary reading (articles,
hypertexts, digital projects) will be available through our online
Schedule. Please print out the articles assigned and bring them with you
to class so you may reference them during our discussions. For
background material on the Romantic tradition/movement/writing/authors,
refer to the Gaull text. For an explanation of poetic or prosaic terms,
refer to the Abrams text. See also our
Online Resources for further sources.
Presentation & Short Essay
Class Discussion & Participation
Class participation is worth 10% of your grade. Since this seminar
will be most effective as a discussion group (rather than 3 hours of
lecturing), your participation in discussions is imperative. To receive
an A or a B in participation, you must do more than just attend class.
You must also demonstrate that you have been keeping up with the
readings and thinking about the questions raised by various postings,
lectures and presentations.
Each week, you will hand in one typed, single-spaced page of writing
concerning that week’s readings. Begin each Writing with a quote from
the readings. Your response to this quote can incorporate a close
reading, your thoughts or any connections you’ve made among the
literature. This writing is a moment for you to ponder, muse and
contemplate the literature that we will read throughout the semester.
Each Weekly Writing will receive a grade based on its thoughtfulness and
clarity of writing. If you do not attend class, you will not receive
credit for your Weekly Writing (without exception). There are 13 in all.
The 14th Weekly Writing will be in the form of a post to a
national Romantics listserv (NASSR, see below).
NASSR Listserv Posting
One of your Weekly Writings will be done on your own and requires you to
subscribe to a listserv that specializes in Romantic-era discussions.
You need to subscribe to the NASSR listserv and post at least one
message during this semester. The listserv's readers are scholars and
academics who study all aspects of literature 1780-1837 (many of whom we
are reading this semester). There is a particular etiquette to posting
on a professional listserv, therefore before you post anything, observe
this nettiquete. (For instance, you might let them know that you’re a
graduate student.) After posting your message (a question or response to
the online community), submit a copy of your post (with all the email
headers) to me by the last day of class. Instructions for registering
are on our Course Website.
To unsubscribe from the Listserve, send an e-mail to
LISTSERV@LISTSERV.WVU.EDU. Leave the subject line blank, and
place the following text in the body of the message: UNSUBSCRIBE NASSR-L
The purpose of becoming part of this listserv is to facilitate
discussion beyond the classroom. It’s also a handy way to keep in
contact with all of your peers. To subscribe, send an email to:
Leave the subject line blank, but in the body (text area) enter the
following request: SUBSCRIBE RomanticGender yourfirstname yourlastname.
To post a message to the list, send an email to
Please subscribe before the second class meeting.
Presentation & Short Essay
Each week, 1-2 students will present on one article in the secondary
readings and its relationship to the primary text – 20 minutes max. Your
presentation will provide a critique of the article, not just a summary.
To enhance your presentation, you may use handouts, digital information
or dramatic performance. After your brief presentation, you will lead a
discussion based on 3 (or more) questions (and an annotated
bibliographic entry of the article) that will be posted to the
course listserv on the Wednesday prior to your scheduled date.
By the next meeting, turn in your presentation as
a formal piece of writing (8pp max). Take advantage of the feedback and
discussion offered by your classmates by including those suggestions in
your Short Essay. The presentation will be graded on its effectiveness
and clarity; the Short Essay will be graded on standard English
Department grading policy (see below). As graduate students, I expect a
higher level of writing and an understanding of MLA citation methods.
For that reason, leave enough time to edit your writing and formalize
your citations (and Works Cited). Further instructions will be given
during our second meeting.
Your final 15-page essay will be based on a topic of your choosing that
incorporates Romantic-era literature and secondary research. To help
with progress on this project, a First Draft (4pp) and Annotated
Bibliography will be due March 23. The Final Essay and an Abstract will
be due at the final exam meeting where we will share our Abstracts and
research with each other. Abstracts will also be distributed via the
listserv prior to that final meeting. My office door is always open to
discuss potential topics, give web designing tutorials or workshop a
draft. Please stop by throughout the semester. (More thorough
instructions will be distributed.)
The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog (“The Grading System”). Grades issued must represent a full range of student
performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure. Courses graded according to the A, B, C, No Credit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC, for No
Credit, shall replace D or F.
In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct
grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs. Essays in this class will be graded according to the following SJSU academic standards for assessment:
- The “A” essay will be well-organized and well-developed, demonstrating a clear understanding and fulfillment of the assignment. It will show the student’s ability to use language effectively and to
construct sentences distinguished by syntactic complexity and variety. Such essays will be essentially free from grammatical, mechanical, and usage errors.
- The “B” essay will demonstrate competence in the same categories as the “A” essay. The chief difference is that the “B” essay will show some weaknesses in one of those categories. It may neglect one of
the assigned tasks, show less facility of expression, or contain some minor grammatical, mechanical, or usage flaws.
- The “C” essay will complete all tasks set by the assignment, but show weaknesses in fundamentals, usually development, with barely enough specific information to illustrate the experience or support
generalizations. The sentence construction may be less mature, and the use of language less effective and correct than the “B” essay.
- The “D” essay will neglect one of the assigned tasks and be noticeably superficial in its treatment of the assignment—that is, too simplistic or too short. The essay may reveal some
problems in development, with insufficient specific information to illustrate the experience or support generalizations. It will contain grammatical, mechanical, and/or usage errors that are serious
and/or frequent enough to interfere substantially with the writer’s ability to communicate.
- The “F” essay will demonstrate a striking underdevelopment of ideas and insufficient or unfocused organization. It will contain serious grammatical, mechanical, and usage errors that render some
Since this is a seminar, you need to be prepared at every class
meeting with the readings and writings. If you cannot meet a
deadline, you must contact me prior to our class meeting to
discuss the situation. Because an incomplete allows for extended
time to complete the requirements of the course (and is unfair
to your colleagues), a request for one is not generally granted.
All students are responsible for knowing and observing
University policies regarding academic dishonesty. See
University publication: "Academic Dishonesty and its
buying, stealing, or borrowing a
hiring someone to write a paper;
building on someone’s ideas
without providing a citation;
or copying from another source or
using a source too closely when paraphrasing.
Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or
ideas and is considered an instance of academic dishonesty that
instructors must report. Repeated instances of plagiarism will
result in a student’s expulsion from the University. You commit
In other words, submit only your own work.
To learn how to cite sources accurately and forthrightly,
consult your handbook. If you have any questions about when or
how to document a source, do not hesitate to ask me for
clarification. The instructor reserves the right to revise the
requirements and to notify students of such revision in a timely
Respect your fellow students and I: Attend class, arrive on time
(excessive tardiness will affect your participation grade) and
do not partake in disruptive behavior. If you are late, wait for
an appropriate moment to enter so you do not disturb the class.
Turn off cell phones or put them on silent mode during the class
Because we will use the course listserv for large announcements,
email will be reserved for individual contact. (Please
provide an email address that you check daily.) When
emailing me, please consider it a formal communication: include
the appropriate salutation, your name and your question/comment.
Know that long conversations over email are not fruitful (merely
because of the limitations of the technology). If you have an
extended question or dilemma, please visit me during office
As we move along in the semester, course materials will be
posted on the course website. After you have entered, simply
click on English 232 to print the secondary readings, visit
outside hypertextual projects, print copies of lost documents,
find the campus computer rooms, check my office hours, find
writing help, discover local literary events or double-check the
meaning of "plagiarism."
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a
disability, or if you need special arrangements in case the
building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me
as soon as possible, or see me during office hours.
Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with
disabilities register with the DRC to establish a record of