New Graduate Course Help

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This Fall, I'm teaching a graduate course in Romanticism. The last time I offered a graduate course (2 years ago on William Wordsworth), it was cancelled for low enrollment (only 7 signed up; I needed at least 10). This means that an entire generation of our MA graduate students haven't had any Romantic-era literature for their comprehensive exams. (The last class I taught in the graduate program was in 2008 and that was on Madness & Romanticism, based on an article I wrote for an Alexander Street Press database.) Most of the time, I hear them say that they had a Romantic-era survey in undergrad and don't need a grad course in Blake, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, or Coleridge to pass the exams. Grad courses specifically do not cater to the comprehensive exams, but it's been difficult erasing this culture from our program.  They will take a Victorian course and read all of Middlemarch and 3 or 4 Dickens novels, but Romanticism falls flat. For the Fall, I have no shame; I will resort to bribery and pop culture-isms to attract students to this course.

Yes, dear Teaching Romanticism Collection, I am asking for your help. I want to teach a course on the development of aesthetics in Romantic-era literature -- based on the summer NEH seminar with Stephen Behrendt. The readings will be based on those from the seminar plus any travel diaries, travelogues, ships' manifestos, letters that involve this idea of travel. The title:

Eat, Look, Go": Romanticism, Aestheticism, and the Sensualism of Travel

All of the usual suspects appear in the primary reading (MWS, PBS, STC, WW, DW, MW) but who else? Any suggestions? Perhaps we could create a map of their travel (staying with the digital theme that I typically incorporate). Or maybe I should kick it old school and just have them read, interact with the literature.  I'm not quite sure how to get eating in there, too.

Any suggestions?

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from the

from the Twitters:

@laurentklein: Gigante's work is on food in Brit. Rom. Also try Timothy Morton on food, spice, awareness of empire in the romantic's diets. Comically, I think I also just figured out that your username is tri-prof-tri, not trip-of-tri (which would also be good).

Don't know if you want to get

Don't know if you want to get into drugs, but DeQuincey's opium eating should qualify him for both eating and "traveling" around urban London, not to mention his episode with the Malay.

I'd second DeQuincey.

I'd second DeQuincey. "Confessions" would pair well with Blake's Jerusalem - & you could talk about different methods of traveling, walking, mapping. Have you seen Erin Sells' recent article on ProfHack about "Mapping Novels with GoogleEarth?" ( I'm also reminded of a book that Iain Sinclair published in 2006: Edge of the Orison. It's a contemporary novel where Sinclair retraces John Claire's walk from Epping Forest where he was locked in an asylum to Helpston, Northamptonshire. I don't know how much it would help with exams but @ least DeQuincey and Claire would offer alternatives to the usual suspects. Claire was also a more than a little "mad" when he went on his walk, so that would be interesting.

So Roger and Kate both

So Roger and Kate both scooped me on the DeQuincey, but I'd also suggest Scott's Waverley for travel, aesthetics, and the feast scene at Chief Fergus' castle in the Highlands. Scott also seems canonical enough to help with exams, and you can link him to other historical novels like Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent -- I'm blanking on food in Rackrent besides the footnote about the ritual of taking tea. And food-wise + travel, you could also look at lack of food and near starvation in gothic novels like AR's Sicilian Romance and The Monk, as well as the oh-so fun cannibalism scene in Canto II of Don Juan.

Between the NEH peeps,

Between the NEH peeps, Twitter and Romantic Circles, this is the resulting graduate course in Romanticism next Fall. Cross your fingers that it makes its enrollment:

Eat, Look, Go: Romanticism, Aestheticism, and the Sensualism of Travel

The newly-established restaurant quickly became the preferred meeting place where critics, poets, artists, authors of the British Romantic Era discussed aesthetic standards. Then, they travelled abroad on the Grand Tour to discover the gustatory delights of foreign lands. Some returned from exotic locales with opium-induced, waking nightmares. Others indulged in dinner, opera, and artwork. Denise Gigante attributes this zest for taste to a quest for pleasure, a state of mind that the Romantics decidedly embraced. During the semester, we will read through, look at, map, and visualize the journey of the Romantic literary “(Wo)Man of Taste” through canonical and non-canonical authors alike, including Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Mary and Percy Shelley, Coleridge, DeQuincey, Wollstonecraft, Byron, Keats, Clare, Hogg, with quite a bit of visual pleasure included from Gilpin, Combe, Rowlandson, and Blake – all to reveal the relationship between aesthetic taste and appetite in Britain 1770-1837.

Katherine, I'd sign up


I'd sign up for the course! Looks really cool! Another thought - though this might be a little out there - would be Gus Van Sant's Last Days, which uses Blakean imagery and music inspired by Blake to critique the drug-induced artistic sense of pleasure via a meditation on Kurt Cobain's suicide. The main character is modeled after Cobain but is named "Blake." Obviously this isn't Romantic literature, but it might show how Romantic artists inspired later artists to reflect upon your "opium-induced, waking nightmares."

Great great course description!