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REVOLUTION AND ROMANTICISM

In 1990 Morton D. Paley will be offering an NEH summer seminar for college teachers on “British Romanticism in an Epoch of Revolution.” The seminar will run from 18 June to 10 August (eight weeks) at the University of California, Berkeley. Those interested in applying should write Paley at the Department of English, University of California, Berkeley CA 94720. From 15 February to 15 May, write Paley at V. Valhallavagen 4, 18263 Djursholm, Sweden (tel. Stockholm 755-5574). He describes the seminar as follows: Consciousness of living in an epoch of revolution shaped Romantic literature written in the period from the American Revolution through the French Revolution and ending with the Greek War of Independence. Beginning with Blake’s Poetical Sketches and ending with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s The Last Man, participants in this seminar will analyze the role of these revolutions as thematic, imagistic, and structural parts of the works themselves. Some of the works, like Blake’s The French Revolution, focus primarily on the revolution, while other works, such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, respond to the revolution indirectly. In addition to these works, participants will study Godwin’s Caleb Williams, Coleridge’s Destiny of Nations, Wordsworth’s The Prelude of 1805-06, and Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound. Questions to be addressed include: Is Blake’s The French Revolution a rewriting of Revelation in contemporary terms? Are Keats’ Hyperion poems, depicting as they do the aftermath of cosmic revolution, susceptible of sociopolitical interpretation? Is Mary Shelley’s The Last Man simply an “anatomy of failed revolution” and a repudiation of the most cherished attitudes of Romanticism or is it a pessimistic vision of the fate of art? Although the central focus of the seminar is English literature, historians, art historians, and others interested in the Revolution and Romantic periods are encouraged to apply.

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