English 103b—Study Guide

I: The Break with the Past: Romantic Revolution

The French Revolution:
Authors: Burke, Wollstonecraft, and Paine. Major Issues: the justification for the Revolution; the role of tradition; the rights of individuals; monarchy and democracy; the problem of the Terror and regicide; the relationship between the French Revolution, and its predecessors, the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution.
Industry, Child Labor, Women’s Rights, and Slavery
Authors: Blake, Clarkson, Equiano, Prince, Wollstonecraft. Major Issues: occupational hazards; innocence vs. ignorance; innocence and experience; "mind-forg’d manacles"; the Atlantic Slave Trade; commodities: sugar, molasses, slaves, coffee, rum; the possibility of self-improvement and salvation; Quakers, other Dissenters, and Evangelicals; religious conversion and autobiography.

II: Beauty and Truth: High Romanticism

Authors: W. Wordsworth, D. Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, Keats, Austen. Major Issues: self-consciousness; "Spots of Time"; lyric and narrative poetry; "the language of ordinary men"; nature; the aesthetic; Descartes; geometry; the imagination; allegory vs. symbol; satire; "cant"; elegy; "unacknowledged legislators"; the "Byronic hero"; Ancient Greece; beauty and truth; class and social alliances.
III: The Victorian Empire and the Literate Public

Authors: Macaulay, Engels, Mill, Darwin, Conan Doyle, Arnold, Dickens. Major Issues: religion and science; capitalism; social reform; freedom of speech and religion; evolution; the scientific world view; Hellenism and Hebraism; culture and anarchy; Christmas; the serial novel.

IV: Aestheticism and Self-examination: The End of the Empire
Authors: Tennyson, Ruskin, R. Browning, E. Browning, Cardinal Newman, Strauss, Colenso, Wilde. Major Issues: empire and responsibility; the Romantic/Victorian quest; morals and moralizing; sincerity and speech acts; the role of the artist; art criticism; aestheticism (to be distinguished from the aesthetic); the sonnet; the aphorism.

How do I study?
  1. Look over your notes, this study guide, and the lecture outlines. If I mentioned it in the lecture, you should know about it. Know the major issues and terms of each section of the course, and associate each with an author and a work. Whatever you decide to study, cover thoroughly so you have a secure foundation for your answers.
  2. Think about the broader issues that would be worth discussing in an essay. Outline them, discuss them with your friends, and make practice questions and answers with them.
  3. Study in short, concentrated periods according to a plan. You’ll retain more information and have better ideas for the essay.