Dr Diane Long Hoeveler
Location: 247 Coughlin Hall
Phone: 288-3466
Office Hours: T and Th 2-3 and by appt.
Class meets T and Th 12:35-1:50 in Cudahy 118

Blackboard Course:  login is marqbb

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Race, class and gender have emerged during the past two decades as central to the study of canonical British Romantic poetry.  This seminar examines the major Romantic poetic texts in relation to a complex of issues authorial voice, imagery patterns, symbolism, structuring principles, and ideological configurations that can be read differently when one takes race, class, and gender into consideration.  More specifically, we will examine the issue of slavery and abolition, the class anxieties caused by rapid industrialization, and the use of the feminine as representation in texts written by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, and Shelley.  We will also read poetry and prose written by the women who were writing at the same time.  Some of the texts we will read will include Mary Robinson, The Natural Daughter, Walter Scott, Waverley , Sydney Owneson, The Missionary, and Caroline Lamb’s Glenavron.

REQUIRED TEXTS:  Mellor and Matlak, British Literature 1780-1830 (Harcourt) (MM)

Scott, Waverley (Oxford )

Robinson, A Letter to the Women of England and Natural Daughter (Broadview)

Sydney Owenson, The Missionary (Broadview)

Caroline Lamb, Glenavron (Tuttle/Everyman)

COURSE OBJECTIVES:  In addition to introducing students to a variety of romantic-era texts, the major goal of this course is to increase your professionalism as a literary critic and scholar, and to that end you will be given practice in mastering a number of professional academic genres (i.e., the timed academic examination, the scholarly article, the conference paper, etc.).  Requirements include an avid interest in sharing your ideas and insights with the class, a conference-length paper (8-9 pages), a  longer research paper (15 pages), and one oral report on secondary readings and research presented to class.


Abrams, Meyer H.  Natural Supernaturalism.  [PN/603/.A3/1973]

Ashfield, Andrew, ed. Romantic Women Poets: 1770-1838. [PR/1177/.W65/1995]

Bloom, Harold.  The Visionary Company.  [PR/590/.B39/1971]

Romanticism and Consciousness.  [PR/590/.B387]

Butler, Marilyn.  Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries.  [PR/447/.B8/1982]

Cooke, Michael.  The Romantic Will.  [PR590.C6/1976]

Cox, Jeffrey.  In the Shadows of Romance.  [PN/1898/.E85/C68]

Cox, Jeffrey, ed.  Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825.  [PR/635/.H67/S48]

Cox, Philip.  Gender, Genre, and the Romantic Poets. [PR/590/.C64/1996]

Ellison, Julie.  Delicate Subjects.  [PR/457/.E5/1990]

Frye, Northrop.  A Study of English Romanticism.  [PR/447/.F7]

Gaull, Marilyn.  English Romanticism.  [PR/590/.G38/1988]

Hagstrum, Jean.  The Romantic Body.  [PR/590/.H28/1985]

Hoeveler, Diane .Romantic Androgyny.  [PR/585.A49/H6/1990]

Johnston, Kenneth, ed.  Romantic Revolutions.  [PR/4571.R644/1990]

Jordan, Frank, ed.  English Romantic Poets, 1985 ed. [PR/590/.E5]

McGann, Jerome.  Romantic Ideology.  [PR/590/.M34/1983]

Manning, Peter.  Reading Romantics.  [PR1590/.M23/1990]

Mellor, Anne.  Romanticism and Gender.  [PR468/.F46/M45/1993]

, ed. Romanticism and Feminism.  [PR/469.F44/R66/1988]

Nicoll, Allardyce.  A History of English Drama, 1660-1900.  [PR/625/.N52/1952/v.4]

Peckham, Morse.  The Triumph of Romanticism.  [PN/6031.P4]

Rajan, Tilottama.  Dark Interpreter.  [PR/5901.R27/1980] .

The Supplement of Reading. [PR/4571.R34/1990]

Reed, Arden, ed.  Romanticism and Language.  [PR/468.R65/R65/1984]

Ross, Marlon.  The Contours of Masculine Desire.  [PN/603.R67]

Ruoff, Gene, ed.  The Romantics and Us.  [PR/457/.R647/1990]

Simpson, David.  Subject to History: Ideology, Class, Gender. [PR/7/.S83]

Siskin, Clifford.  The Historicity of Romantic Discourse.  [PR/468.H57/557/1988]

Stillinger, Jack.  The Hoodwinking of Madeline and Other Essays.  [PR/4837/.S64/1971]

Swingle, L. J.  The Obstinate Questionings of English Romanticism.  [PR/457/.S9/1987]

Wasserman, Earl.  The Subtler Language.  [PR503/.W35/1959]

Weiskel, Thomas.  The Romantic Sublime.  [BH/301/.S7/.W44]











January 13:  Introduction to the course:  race, class, and gender as interpretive categories in the study of romantic literature

Jan 15:  ROMANTICISM AND RACE:  MM: readings from “Slavery” section (53-84); Barbauld “To Wm Wilberforce” (169)

Jan 20: MM: Equiano (192) and Prince (868-80); Blake,Visions of the Daughters of Albion”(294); Coleridge, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (734)

Jan 22: MM: Blake, “Little Black Boy,” More, “Slavery,” (206); Wordsworth, “Toussaint,” (598); Edgeworth, “Grateful Negro” (546): Yearsley, “Slave-Trade” (263)

Jan 27: ROMANTICISM AND GENDER: MM: “Rights of Women” section (31-52); Wollstonecraft (366-426); More, “Strictures” (220); Barbauld, “Rights” (186)

Jan 29: Robinson, A Letter to the women of England

Feb 3: Mary Robinson, Natural Daughter

Feb 5:  continue Natural Daughter

Feb 10:  MM: Aikin, 815-37; More, 220;

Feb 12:  MM: Robinson, Sappho, pp 319-30; Landon, Sappho (1379)

Feb 17:  Romanticism and Class: MM: “Rights of Man” sections (9-30; 85-104)

Feb 19: Walter Scott, Waverley

Feb 24:  Waverley

Feb 26:  Waverley

March 2: MM: Burns, 354-364; Opie, “Poems,” (557-59); Wordsworth, “Thorn,” (567)

March 4: MM: Blake, “Chimney Sweeper” (279; 300); More, Cheap Repository Tracts (216-220); Clare, poems (1248-53); Robinson, “Old Beggar” (350)

March 16:  Owenson, The Missionary

March 18:  Missionary

March 23:  Missionary

March 25:  class cancelled; you must attend one panel of the “Women and Creativity” conference

March 30: MM: Owenson, 806-14; Shelley, “Alastor” (1054)

April 1: MM: Hemans, poems, 1227-1242

April 6: MM: Coleridge, “Kubla Khan” (729); “Christabel” (721)

April 13:  Lamb, Glenavron

April 15:  Glenavron

April 20:  Glenavron

April 22: MM: Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, 887-918

April 27: MM: Keats, Odes (1295)

April 29: MM: Keats, Lamia (1298) and La Belle Dame (1313)

May 4: MM: Keats, Hyperion (1285) and Fall of Hyperion (1314)

May 6: summation


English 171: Romanticism and Race: From Slavery to Emancipation

Dr Diane Long Hoeveler
Location: 247 Coughlin Hall
Phone: 288-3466
Office Hours: T and Th 10-11 and 2-3 and by appt.
Class meets T and Th 12:35-1:50

Blackboard course: login in marqbb

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine the literature written by British poets, dramatists, and fiction writers during the period of Britain=s involvement with the transatlantic slave trade through the emancipation of slaves in the British empire in 1833.  We will use an anthology to survey the poetry written by abolitionist writers, as well as those who supported the institution of slavery in the colonies.  In addition to studying primary literary texts, students will also read and prepare reports on the social, political, economic, legal, and religious is sue s that provided the context for slavery in Britain. This course will provide the necessary historical and cultural background for explaining how slavery originated and the role that Britain played in influencing America 's adoption of slavery.  Further, ARomanticism and Race@ will provide students with a fuller perspective on how slavery was a contested site from its very beginnings, and the role that literary writers played in eventually ending the practice in England.


1. To develop a clearer sense of the history of slavery in the Western world;

2. To understand how literature functions in a society in the service of both reaction and reform; to understand how what it means to be “human” is constructed in different cultures for specific economic and social reasons; to appreciate how America and Great Britain participated in a cross-cultural dialogue on the issues of slavery and emancipation.

3. To conduct research related to the issue of slavery in the British empire and to relate that research to primary literary texts (poetry, drama, or fiction) in your own written work;

4. To present a group oral report to the class that addresses one is sue of special interest to you.  To design that report using visual resources, music, or supplementary materials.


Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and Others: Early Black British Writing, ed. Alan Richardson and Debbie Lee (Houghton Mifflin) [EBBW]

Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems about Slavery, 1660-1810, ed. James G. Basker ( New Haven : Yale)  [AG]

S. I. Martin, An Incomparable World (George Brazillier)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ed. Jean F. Yellin (Oxford

171 syllabus, p. 2

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: an in-class essay midterm exam (25% of final grade); a 10-page research paper (25% of final grade); a group-oral report to the class based on research (25% of final grade); and a take-home final essay exam (25% of final grade).

ATTENDANCE POLICY:  This course subscribes to the MU College of Arts and Sciences attendance policy.  After five absences your final grade will be lowered one-half grade.  After three more absences it drops another half-grade.  After a total of nine absences you will be withdrawn from the course.

GRADING SYSTEM: 92-100 = A; 88-91 = AB; 82-87 = B; 78-81 = BC; 70-77 =C

Specific criteria for writing assignments and oral presentations are available on the blackboard site.

Readings, supplementary materials, assignments

Additional source for primary materials:

Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period, Ed. Debbie Lee and Peter Kitson. 8 vols.  London : Pickering and Chatto, 1999)

Secondary Sources:

Beatrice Dykes, The Negro in English Romantic Thought (1942)

Wylie Sypher, Guinea’s Captive Kings (1942)

Joan Baum, Mind For’g Manacles (1994)

Clare Midgley, Women Against Slavery: The British Campaigns (1995)

Moira Ferguson, Subject to Others: British Women and Colonial Slavery 1670-1834 (1992)

H. L. Malchow, Gothic Images of Race in 19th Century Britain (1996)

Alan Richardson and Sonia Hofkosh, eds. Romanticism, Race, and Imperial Culture (1996)

Debbie Lee, Slavery and The Romantic Imagination (2001)

Tim Fulford and Peter Kitson, eds. Romanticism and Colonialism (1998)


January 13:  Introduction to course: readings, theoretical approaches, assignments and course objectives

January 15:  EBBW: Sancho, Gronniosaw, pp. 21-77

January 20: EBBW: Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (1789), 111-179

English 171 syllabus, p. 3

January 22: Equiano cont., plus pp. 299-304

January 27: EBBW: Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), pp. 78-110

January 29:  EBBW: Jea, 180-203; 304-08

February 3:  EBBW: Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, 233-286

February 5:  “The Two Marys: Two Views of Slavery”: 30 min video.  Video focuses on Maria Nugent, slave owner, and Mary Prince, slave in Jamaica .  Prince’s narrative is taken from her dictated story published the London Anti-Slavery League.

February 10:  EBBW: Wedderburn, 204-232

February 12: Course packet: Olympe de Gouges, “Black Slavery, or the Happy Shipwreck”

February 17:  AG: The Yarico and Inkle narrative: Frances Seymour, 52; William Pattison, 56; Anonymous, 70; 75; John Winstanley, 107; Jerningham, 162; James Wolcott, 326; all selections by George Colman, 329

February 19:  AGSentimental Abolitionist Poetry:  Robert Burns, The Slave's Lament, 445; Eaglesfield Smith and Hannah More, The Sorrows of Yamba, or the Negro Woman's Lamentation, 490;  The Slave Trade, 335;  all poems by Mary Robinson, 261

February 24:  AG: Thomas Day, The Dying Negro, a Poetical epistle, 203; Amelia Opie, The Negro Boy’s Tale, 579; all poetry by William Cowper, 294

February 26: AG: Slavery as Institution: Mary Birkett, 442; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 446; all poems by Robert Southey, 428

March 2: AG: all poems by Phillis Wheatley, 166; Hammon, 140; anonymous, 259; Mary Deverell, 293; “Mathilda,” 494

March 4: AG: Fetishizing Black women: Isaac Teale, 146;  John Whaley, 68; James Delacourt, 271; Thomas Morris, 509; Robert Tannahill, 679. MIDTERM EXAM (take-home component due as you enter class)

English 171 syllabus, p. 4

March 7-14:  Spring Break

March 16:  AG: The Emancipation Debate:  Helen Maria Williams, 371; anonymous, 378; Thomas Bellamy, The Benevolent Planters, 380; Thomas Tomlins, 473; anonymous, 544

March 18:  James Boswell, No Abolition of Slavery; or the universal empire of love, 283;  Anna Letitia Barbauld, "Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq. On the rejection of the bill for abolishing the slave trade," 421; John Walsh, 436

March 23:  Elizabeth Benger, 620; George Dyer, On Considering the unsettled state of Europe, and the opposition which has been made to attempts for the abolition of the slave‑trade, 626; Bernard Barton, 665; William Hamilton, 681


March 30: AG: all poems by William Blake, 382

April 1: AG: all poems by William Wordsworth, 583

April 6: AG: The Scene in Jamaica and the British West Indies: anonymous, 80; all selections by Bryan Edwards, 131; Singleton, 166; anonymous, 272

April 13: AG: “Ode: The Insurrection of the Slaves at St. Domingo, 438; James Montgomery, 613; all pieces by Joshua Marsden, 647

April 15:  Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

April 15: UTC

April 20:  guest lecture by Dr. Amy Blair on Uncle Tom’s Cabin


April 22: UTC

April 27: S. I. Martin, Incomparable World, 8-100

April 29: World, 101-213

English 171 syllabus, p. 5

May 4:  final oral reports

May 6: course evaluations, summations



1.  A report on the “neo-slave narrative,” postmodern attempts to rewrite the slave experience in a contemporary novel.  Some examples are Beryl Gilroy, Stedman and Joanna (1991) and Caryl Phillips, Cambridge (1991).

Source for information: Ashraf Rshdy, “Neo-Slave Narrative,” in The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, ed. W Andrews et al (NY: Oxford, 1997), 533-35.

2.      A report on slave women in the British West Indies:  sources include Lucille Mathurin, The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies during Slavery (1975), Barbara Bush, Slave Women in Caribbean Society; Hilary Beckles, Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Black Women in Barbados.

3.      The visual depictions of slaves, the slave trade, or the eroticization of Black slaves in paintings.  How and why were slaves portrayed?  Did their portrayal change over the century?

4.      Theories of physiognomy and racial superiority:  how were scientific theories of the time used to justify the continuation of slavery?

5.      Harriet Beecher Stowe:  a history of adaptations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (dolls, dramas, films)

6.      Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the abolition movement in America

7.      French attitudes toward the practice of slavery in their colonies

8.      The Black as encoded in romantic poetry, either overtly or covertly

9.      Perform scenes from Yarico and Inkle and explain the story’s popularity




1.  A theoretical examination of slavery (its philosophical defenses)

2.  A historical examination of slavery

3. A theological examination of slavery

4.  A literary history of slavery

5. The slave trade in England and the British West Indies

6.  The role of women in the slave trade

7.   How literature influenced the abolition movement

8.   A history of slave rebellions (the Maroons, Obeah, etc)

9.    The artistic depiction of slaves in paintings and sculpture

10.  Specific poets and their literary depictions of the evils or advantages of slavery

11.  The role of popular dramas in spreading attitudes toward slavery

12.  The role and problematics of “told-to” autobiographies (Prince, etc)

13.  The newspaper portrait of Thomas Jefferson and “Sally”

14.  Your choice:  if you want to explore something that is radically different from anything on this list, please consult me first before beginning your research.




This midterm is an essay exam, with two essays required.  Each essay should be 3-4 typed pages, with a clear thesis, supporting paragraphs that use specific passages or quotations, and a conclusion that restates your thesis.  Each essay is worth 50%.


  1. Heavy use of Biblical language and images is one of the most dominant rhetorical strategies used by the slave narratives.  Select two of the narratives (Gronniosaw; Jea; Cugoano; Equiano; or Wedderburn) and compare and contrast HOW they use this imagery and WHAT IT ACCOMPLISHES in their manipulation of their readers.
  1. The slave narratives also use anecdotal evidence or the powerful vignette in order to persuade their readers of the evils of slavery.  Select three to four specific vignettes in any of the slave narratives, and analyze them closely for their strategic effectiveness.
  1. Wedderburn’s The Axe Laid to the Root is an example of what is called “mulatto discourse.”  Read Helen Thomas’s essay on the subject in our textbook (pp. 409-27) and outline her main points about this discourse.  Then apply her insights to your own reading of Wedderburn.


  1. Olympe de Gouges’s sentimental drama “Black Slavery, or the Happy Shipwreck” can be interpreted through historical, ideological, or psychological strategies.  Choose one of these approaches to the text and provide an interpretation of the drama.  HINT:  research in secondary sources is necessary if you choose historical or psychological approaches.  Several websites on this is sue have been linked to our class site.
  1. One of the central debates in abolitionist poetry is the use of appropriation or ventriloquism. Analyze this is sue by examining the poetry of More, Opie, Cowper, and Robinson.
  1. Sentimental poetic devices were used in the service of the abolition cause, particularly by white authors, in an effort to humanize slaves.  Choose a constellation of four to six poems and analyze how the poets employ a variety of sentimental tropes (family, mother and child, love of home, interracial love) to advance the cause of abolition of slavery.



DUE AT MY OFFICE—COUGHLIN 247 –no later than noon on MAY 7, 2004

This final is an essay exam, with two essays required.  Each essay should be 3-4 typed pages, with a clear thesis, supporting paragraphs that use specific passages or quotations, and a conclusion that restates your thesis.  Each essay is worth 50%.


A.     Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin relies on several literary conventions we identified earlier in abolitionist poetry and slave narratives: sentimental idealization of the mother and child bond, the polluting effects of slavery on both master and slave, the precarious position of the mulatto, the complicated use of the Bible to attack or justify slavery, etc.  Select at least three of these devices, and show how Stowe uses these conventions to full advantage in her novel.

B.     Uncle Tom’s Cabin has actually been accused on racism and Stowe has been denounced as perpetuating racist stereotypes throughout the novel.  Summarize the attacks on the book (see particularly pp. Xx-xxi in our book) and then either support Stowe or show how her support of colonization in Africa and her characterizations of blacks are forms of unconscious racism.


A. S. I. Martin’s novel Incomparable World is an example of a “neo-slave narrative,” a postmodern work that attempts to capture the reality of the slave situation, while still aware that the present can never fully articulate the full complexity of the past.  Neo-slave narratives by necessity have to employ ventriloquism and appropriation.  How successful in your opinion is Incomparable World as a neo-slave narrative?  In other words, given what you have read in the original slave narratives of Equiano et al., how accurately do you think Martin’s portrayal of their situation is?

B.  The Vauxhall incident (pp. 149-165) in many ways represents the core of the novel Incomparable World.  Several events, characters, and revelations are revealed at that incident, all causing the subsequent actions that are taken by a number of characters in the rest of the novel.  Analyze closely that section of the text, and explicate how it works to center the novel around the is sue of miscegenation.


Anstey, Roger, and P.E.N. Hair,  Liverpool , the African Slave Trade, and Abolition.

Warrington : Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire , 1976.

Banton, Michael,  White and Coloured.  The Behaviour of British People Towards

Coloured Immigrants.  New Brunswick , NJ : Rutgers University Press, 1960

Barker, J.,  The Africa Link.  British Attitudes to the Negro in the 17th and 18th

Centuries.  London , 1978.

Behn, Aphra,  The Royal Slave (around 1688), edited by Ernest A. Baker.  London :

Routledge, 1913 (adapted for the stage as Oroonoko, 1965, by Thomas

Southern; and others)

Bolt, Christine,  Victorian Attitudes to Race London : Routledge & Kegan Paul,


Cadbury, Henry J.,  John Woolman in England London : Friends Historical Society,


Coleridge, Henry Nelson,   Six Months in the West Indies in 1825 London : John

Murray , 1826

Craton, M., James Walvin, and David Wright, eds.,  Slavery, Abolition and

Emancipation. London : Longman, 1976.

Dabydeen, David, ed.,  The Black Presence in English Literature Manchester :

Manchester University Press, 1985.

Davis, Charles T., and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,  The Slave’s Narrative Oxford :

Oxford University Press, 1985.

Davis , David Bryon.,  The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture London :

Penguin, 1970.

Debrunner, M.W.,  Presence and Prestige.  Africans in Europe before 1918 Basel :

Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 1979.

Equiano, Olaudah, Equiano’s Travels (1789), selected and edited by Paul Edwards.

London : Heinemann, 1967.

Fanon, Frantz,  Black Skin, White Masks New York : Grove Press, 1967

(Peau noire, masques blancs, Paris: Seuil, 1952)

Fryer, Peter,  Staying Power.  The History of Black People in Britain .  London :

Pluto Press, 1984.

Genovese, E.,  Race & SlaveryPrinceton : Princeton University Press, 1979.

Hanke, Lewis,  Aristotle and the American Indians: A Study in Race Prejudice

In the Modern World.  London : Hollis and Carter, 1959.

Honour, Hugh,  The Image of the Black in Western Art (4 vols.), vol. 4 parts

1 & 2.  Cambridge , MA , & London : Harvard University Press, 1989

Horn, Pamela,  The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant Dublin : Gill &

Macmillan, 1975.

Jones, Eldred,  Othello’s Countrymen Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1964.   

Lewis, M. G,  Journal of a West India Proprietor Kept during a Residence among

The Negroes in the West Indies (1835), edited with an Introduction and Notes

By Judith Terry.  Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1999.

Scobie, E,  Black Britannia.  A History of Blacks in Britain Chicago : Johnson, 1972

Sherdidan, Richard B.,  Sugar and Slavery.  An Economic History of the British West

Indies 1623-1775.  Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974.

Shyllon, Folarin,  Black People in Britain 1555-1833 London : Oxford University

Press, 1977.

Soderlund, Jean R.,  Quakers and Slavery.  A Divided Spirit.  Princeton , NJ :

Princeton University Press, 1988

Stephen, JamesEngland Enslaved by her Own Slave Colonies. London : Hatchard, 1826

Vizram, Rozina,  Ayahs, Lascars and Princes.  Indians in Britain 1700-1947.  London :

Pluto Press, 1986.

Walvin, James,  Black and White.  The Negro in English Society 1551-1945 London :

Mcmillan, 1973.

Walvin, JamesEngland , Slaves and Freedom 1776-1838 London : Macmillan, 1986

Woolman, John,  The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman, ed  Phillips P.

Moulton.  New York : Oxford University Press, 1971



Professor Diane Long Hoeveler

Coughlin 247

Office Phone:  288-3466

Email:  ""

Course meets from 1:15-2:50 M/T /W/TH in Straz 456


Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray (in reading packet to be purchased at Bookmarq)

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility ( Oxford )

Eliza Fenwick, Secresy (Broadview)

Mary Hays, A Victim of Prejudice (Broadview)

Mary Hays, The Memoirs of Emma Courtney (Broadview)

The Mary Shelley Reader, ed. Betty Bennett ( Oxford)


1.  An oral presentation delivered to the class; worth 25% of final grade

2.  A short written examination; due July 19 and worth 25% of final grade

3.  An extended research paper; due August 12 and worth 50% of final grade

July 6: Introduction to course; objectives and requirements; video introduction to Austen

July 7: Austen, S & S

July 8: Austen, S & S

July 12: Austen, S & S

July 13: Fenwick, Secresy

July 14: Fenwick, Secresy

July 15: Fenwick, Secresy

July 19: Hays, Victim; short written exam due in class

English 235, p. 2

July 20: Hays, Victim

July 21: Hays, Victim

July 22: Hays, Emma

July 26: Hays, Emma

July 27: Hays, Emma

July 28: Opie, Adeline

July 29: Opie, Adeline

August 2: Opie, Adeline

August 3: Shelley, Frankenstein, vol. 1

August 4: Shelley, Frankenstein, vol. 2

August 5: Shelley, Frankenstein, vol. 3

August 9: Shelley, Mathilda, cc. 1-6

August 10: Shelley, Mathilda, cc. 7-12

August 11: Shelley, short fiction

August 12:  final paper due


1.  You have been asked to write a twenty page (ca. 6,000 word) introduction to a college edition of ONE of the works listed below.  You can't do all this here in an hour, but you can lay out a sketch or plan for your essay, telling us what you would like to put into it and an explanation of the order and importance of the topics you would expect to cover.

The following questions (topics) are intended only as suggestions and not as an outline to be followed.  Some may be of little relevance to the work you select.  Other topics than these may occur to you.

  • What sort of biographical matter would you include?
  • What account would you give of the social background of the work economic, political, religious, legal, etc.?
  • What philosophical or literary traditions (sources, infulences) lie behind the work?
  • To what genre or sub‑genre does it belong, or to what fashions?
  • What of its stylelanguage, tone, structureis worth special comment?
  • What is the history of its reputation? 
  • What are its important issues?
  • Would you make especial use of any one or more definable theoretical approaches?

Sense and Sensibility

A Victim of Prejudice Adeline Mowbray

2.  Romantic women's fiction has sometimes been seen as serving a quasi‑political or philosophical function; it has attempted to provide not entertainment so much as political and philosophical instruction, "values formation," or even a kind of secular salvation.  Discuss this aspect of the fiction of TWO of the following: Hays; Opie; Austen; Shelley.

3.  Georges Gusdorf has recently argued that autobiography arose in the eighteeenth century out of a combined Christian and Romantic belief in the value and uniqueness of the individual life.  Structurally, he asserts, "autobiography requires a man to take a distance with regard to himself in order to reconstitute himself in the focus of his special unity and identity across time" and is thus "a second reading of experience," one that "is truer than the first because it adds to experience itself consciousness of it."  Apply Gusdorf's formulation of autobiography as "a second reading of experience" to the writings of Mary Hays or Mary Shelley.

4.  Anne Mellor has stated that "Romanticism" as a literary movement will only be fully understood when we have examined both what she calls "masculine Romanticism" and its counterpart "feminine Romanticism."  The latter movement, she asserts, is characterized by a belief in a self that is fluid, responsive, with permeable ego boundaries, an emphasis on the family as the grounding trope of social organization, a commitment on an ethic of care (as opposed to an ethic of individual justice), and the sense of Nature as a friend or sister.  Mellor chooses to depict Keats as an exponent of "feminine Romanticism" and Emily Bronte as an exponent of "masculine Romanticism."  Can Mellor's theory be applied to the fiction of Austen, Hays, Fenwick, Opie, or Shelley.  Can you make a case for the distinctively "feminine" characteristic of their fictions?

5.  Alan Liu has noted that where the Romantic writer says "I" he really means "history."  How does the personal attempt to cover over or displace the social, political, and cultural in Emma Courtney?  Discuss at least four specific examples of the "personal" in this text and then analyze its full "historical" contexts.

4.  Ann Radcliffe and the gothic novel tradition were pervasive influences on all of the the Romantic women novelists.  Discuss how gothic images, themes, and concerns emerge in Secresy and Mathilda.

5.  Sensibility as a literary tradition spans the eighteenth century, reaching a mock apotheosis in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  Review the critical positions on the novel's history and reception, and then present a clear position on the novel by reading it within the rich and ambivalent tradition of Sensibility.

6.  Gary Kelly argues that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers participated in their society's broad cultural project: the construction of the bourgeoisie.  Specifically, he claims that women writers attempted, like their middle-class male counterparts, to create a professional middle-class discourse system that would supplant the aristocracy at the same time that it gained control over the lower classes.  According to Kelly, women writers produced works that "constituted a certain technology of the self that we now recognize as 'virtue' and 'reason.'"  Apply this insight to a group of texts written by women during this period--Mary Hays, Eliza Fenwick, Jane Austen, or Amelia Opie--are all possibilities, but the choice of authors and titles is yours.


1.  Jane Austen as a "feminist":  this debate has been raging for several years now.  See Marilyn Butler's JA and the War of Ideas for one side of the issue

2.  the epistolary novel tradition:  its decline and fall.

3.  sensibility as a literary concept; sentimentalism as a literary concept

4.  the instructive, admonishing maternal narrative buried in the primary narrative

5.  character typology: Lucy Steele as extreme embodiment of sentimentality; Marianne as extreme embodiment of sensibility; Eleanor as sense; Austen as an allegorist?

6.  Mary Hays as propagandist of Wollstonecraft's ideas

7.  Emma Courtney as document of erotic obsession and unresolved mourning

8.  "Free love" as ideological banner for Jacobin women writers

9.  Secresy as influence on Austen

10.  Secresy and the epistolary tradition

11.  abolitionist activities and Adeline Mowbray

12.  Amelia Opie as politically conflicted: her history of shifts that coincide with popular opinion

13.  landscape gardening and literary world views (Augustan vs. gothic)

14.  the trajectory of the French Revolution and its effect on literature in England

15.  biographies and career summaries of any woman writer studied in the course

16.  MS's use of the German ghost story collection, Phantasmagoria, as a source for F

17.  F as psychological study

18.  F as religious allegory

19.  F as political and social commentary

20.  F as autobiography

21.  comparative analysis of film versions of F:  "F"; "Bride of F"; "The Bride"; "Haunted Summer"; "MS's F"; "Gothic"; "Rowing with the Wind"; "Gods and Monsters"; "Dark Half"

22.  F and scientific advances at the time of its composition

23.  Mathilda as veiled autobiography

24.  the theme of incest in M and/or F

25  Kubler-Ross's theories of mourning and/or F and M

26.  allusions to other myths and literature in F and/or M

27.  theories of trauma and fantasy and M (see my book Gothic Feminism for a discussion of this topic)


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