The Younger Romantics: Shelley, Keats, and Byron

Description: The course will examine the works and lives of three major English Romantic poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, and George Gordon, Lord Byron, with attention to their political, social, and intellectual contexts. All were younger than the other major Romantics; all died young; all created enduring Romantic metaphors through extraordinary poetry. A wide range of critical approaches, from the ideological to the textual, will reveal how these poets came to represent various forms of the Romantic artist-hero, the Promethean rebel, and the aesthete, as well as how their poetry continues to affect our conception of the aesthetic.

Requirements: A five-page essay; a midterm; an eight-page essay; an oral presentation, and a final examination, as well as in-class critical response assignments.


Lord Byron: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics) Jerome J. McGann, Ed.
Oxford: Oxford UP
ISBN: 0192840401

John Keats: The Complete Poems
London: Penguin

Shelley's Poetry and Prose, Second Edition (Norton Critical Edition)
New York: Norton


I.                   George Gordon, Lord Byron: Romantic Anti-Hero

    1. Introduction to the course
    2. Early poems; excerpts from English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
    3. Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
    4. “Stanzas for Music,” “Prometheus,” “She Walks in Beauty,” excerpts from Beppo and Manfred
    5. Don Juan
    6. Don Juan, continued.

II.                Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poetic Prometheus

    1. To a Skylark,” “Ode to the West Wind,” “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty”
    2. Mont Blanc,” “To a Skylark,” excerpts from The Cenci
    3. A Defence of Poetry, “The Mask of Anarchy”
    4. Prometheus Unbound
    5. Midterm

III.             John Keats: Romantic Aesthete

    1. “On first Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” “La Belle Dame sans Merci”
    2. “Ode to Psyche,” “To a Nightingale,” Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “To Autumn”
    3. “The Fall of Hyperion”

IV.              The Death of Romanticism

    1. Shelley, “Adonais,” Byron, “Who kill’d John Keats?”
    2. Byron, “The Vision of Judgment”
    3. Shelley, “The Triumph of Life”
    4. Byron, “On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year”
    5. Oral presentations
    6. Oral presentations, continued, and conclusions