Romanticism and Place

Instructor: Dr Laurent Folliot

In the wake of geo-critical and transnational studies, notably, scholars of Romanticism have been paying sustained attention to its geographical coordinates and imagination. The aims of this seminar are to provide a synthesis of recent research and approaches, and to pay special attention to the dialectic whereby Romanticism simultaneously or alternately embraced the significance of place as vital to its political and cultural soul-searching, and undermined its stability in its quest for self-transcendence and/or higher intensities. Areas for consideration might include the impact of topographical and antiquarian discourses on the exploration of the local/parochial in Romantic verse and prose, the ongoing reconfiguration of the European and global literary maps during the Napoleonic and post-revolutionary eras, as well as the tension between imperial and deterritorializing impulses at the heart of Romantic re-imaginings of world history.   

Writing Place in Britain

Read either of the following pairs of items:

William Gilpin, Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty [on] the Mountains, and Lakes, of Cumberland, and Westmorland (1786), vol. I, sect. ix-xiii, p. 117-198 (accessible online)

William Wordsworth, An Evening Walk (1793)


Thomas Dunham Whitaker, The History and Antiquity of the Deanery of Craven, in the County of Yorkshire (1812), p. 1-18 (Introduction), 361-428, 446-51 (accessible online)

William Wordsworth, The White Doe of Rylstone (1815)

Redrawing Europe’s Cultural Map

Browse liberally, if possible, from the following items:

  • Germaine de Staël, On Germany [De l’Allemagne, 1810]
  • Leigh Hunt, The Story of Rimini
  • Felicia Hemans, “The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy”
  • P.B. Shelley, “Lines Written in the Euganean Hills”
  • Lord Byron, Beppo
  • Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto IV
  • John Keats, “Isabella: Or, The Pot of Basil”
  • Samuel Rogers, Italy, A Poem
  • Wordsworth, “Musings Near Aquapendente”

Romanticism as Global Hermeneutics?

Read at least one of the following items:

  • S.T. Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1817 version)
  • Robert Southey, The Curse of Kehama (1811)

Secondary Reading (optional)

Laura Bandiera and Diego Saglia (eds.), British Romanticism and Italian Literature: Translating, Reviewing, Rewriting. Leiden: Brill, 2005. 

Christoph Bode and Jacqueline Labbe (eds.), Romantic Localities: Europe Writes Place. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2010.

Evan Gottlieb, Romantic Globalism: British Literature and the Modern World-Order, 1750-1830. Columbus: Ohio UP, 2014.

Nigel Leask, Anxieties of Empire: British Romantic Writers and the East, Cambridge UP, 1993.

Fiona Stafford, Local Attachments : The Province of Poetry. Oxford UP, 2010.