Directions for essay #1 (2 pages minimum), due October 7
Background ideas: By this time, we will have studied elements of the picturesque and the sublime. Moreover, in our conversations, we will have covered the Romantic debate between pictorialism and anti-pictorialism, aspects of which can be mapped onto notions of the picturesque or the sublime.
Subject matter: Your essay can focus on Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, any of the three Coleridge poems, or any of the Blake poems.
Topic: In your essay, I want you to decide whether the work you have chosen to discuss emphasizes the picturesque or the sublime. You might also consider whether it privileges the pictorial or the invisible, communion or alienation, as long as you meditate on what might be the connections among these ideas.
Focus: I would hope that you would consider representations of nature in order to arrive at a decision about the bias of the work.
Method: Choose one representative passage (it can be a stanza or just a complex set of images). Explain why that passage is representative of the work’s tendency as a whole. Remember to include a consideration of any passage or image(s) that might contradict your thesis. Explain why we can safely ignore or override that contradictory evidence.