SLN: 22534
TTh 10:30-11:45
Tempe Ed 250
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ENG 330, Nineteenth Century British Poetry

Spring 2012


This course meets on Tuesday and Thursdays from 10:30-11:45 AM . Readings are listed below on the syllabus. In addition to completing the weekly reading, submitting the writing assignments, and attending class regularly and participating in in-class discussion, you are required to participate in asynchronous Blackboard discussions every week. .

Dan Bivona
Office: L&L 224
Office hours: T, Th 3-5 PM (office); W 7-9 PM (online)
Skype/Office Phone: 602-903-3825

This course is a broad survey of nineteenth-century British poetry. The purpose of the course is to introduce you to the range of poetic discourse in the nineteenth century, to help you develop your critical interpretive skills, to assist you in improving your writing skills, and to help you develop your research skills. You need not have studied nineteenth century British literature previously to take this course.

The readings range widely enough so that you will get the flavor of Romantic and Victorian poetry and important prose statements about poetry. Assignments include 2 critical papers, 1 critical research paper, a take-home final, and regular participation in both Blackboard discussions and in-class discussions. You also have the option to revise and resubmit one of your first two critical papers for an additional grade.

Assignment Where it can be found Due Date % of Final Grade
1st critical paper, 3-5 pages in length* Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due as an email attachment to on February 2 at 11:59 PM
2nd critical paper, 3-5 pages in length* Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due as an email attachment to on March 8 at 11:59 PM
3rd paper: critical research paper Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due as an email attachment to on April 29 at 11:59 PM
Take-home final exam It will appear on the course Blackboard on April 30. due as an email attachment to on May 1 at 11:59 PM
Weekly contributions to class discussion, on Blackboard and in class "Discussion Board" area of Blackboard and in class throughout

*You have the option to revise and resubmit one of the two critical papers for an additional grade. If you choose to do so, your first draft grade will count for 7.5% of your final grade and the revision grade will count for 7.5%. Revisions are due in the digital drop box on the final day of class, April 24.

The first two papers should be 3-5 pages in length. Topics can be found on Blackboard by following the "Writing Assignments" link. These papers are to be submitted to the digital drop box in Blackboard no later than 11:59.59 pm on the due date. Paper grades will be reduced a grade for every day they are late. Use MLA Format for citations.

The Guidelines for paper grading can be found here:

A note on getting started: Effective note-taking is very important, because you will need to use your notes to find the evidence to support the claims you make in your papers. An effective literary thesis should assert something about the meaning of the work that is not obvious to everyone who has read it. Moreover, an effective literary thesis takes a stand on an issue of significant controversy over the meaning of the work. The papers topics, which can be found on Blackboard in the "Writing Assignments" area, will provide you with question prompts.

The final paper, a critical research paper, should be 10-12 pages in length. You should use at least three secondary sources. Again, topics will be found on the course Blackboard in the "Writing Assignments" area.

Weekly contributions to online class discussion: Everyone is required to pose at least 6 questions to the group online over the course of the 16-week term. In addition, every student is required to respond at least once per week to other students' or my questions. You will be graded both on the frequency of your contributions and on the quality of them. The best strategy is to post at least 2 or 3 thoughtful responses and/or questions per week. Please be sure to make them thoughtful, paragraph-long responses, not quick, two-word responses, and be sure to observe the conventions of civil online discourse (no flaming or personal remarks about other students in the class). Questions may deal with the previous week's reading or with the upcoming week's reading. You may ask questions or make responses that relate current material to material introduced earlier in the course, but please do not pose questions about the writing that the rest of the class will not have read for two more weeks. Questions and responses should be posted no later than midnight MST on Sunday of each week to be counted for that week.

Topics raised in the the online discussions will be discussed in class as well.

Please note that all work done for this course must be your original work. If you make use of the insights of other writers, you must cite them in your papers using MLA citation format. Punishments for plagiarism can be very severe and may include a permanent grade of "failure with academic dishonesty" or suspension from the University. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, please ask me.

Author Title Edition
Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle, eds. The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory (concise edition) Broadview

This book is currently available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Google Books. Readings not found in the Broadview Anthology are available online. Further details will be forthcoming.

Week Topic Reading/Assignments
Jan. 5

No class: MLA convention

Jan. 10 Introduction Introduction
Jan. 12 Pre-Romantic poetry Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" [Thomas Gray Archive]; Goldsmith, "The Deserted Village"; Bierce, "The Perverted Village" [Literature Online]
Jan. 17 Romantic poetry Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads [Bartleby]; "London, 1802" [Bartleby]; "Resolution and Independence" [Bartleby]; "The Solitary Reaper" (189); "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" [ Bartleby]
Jan. 19 Romantic poetry cont.

Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" [Bartleby]

Jan. 24 Romantic poetry cont. Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" [ Bartleby]
Jan. 26 Romantic poetry cont. Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" [Bartleby]
Jan. 31 Romantic poetry cont. Coleridge, "Kubla Khan: Or, a Vision in a Dream" [Bartleby]; "Dejection: An Ode" [ Bartleby]; "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison" [ RCHS Hypertext]
Feb. 2* Romantic poetry cont.: The Romantic Closet Drama Byron: Manfred [Bartleby]
Feb. 7 Romantic poetry cont.: The Pathetic Fallacy Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind" [ Bartleby]; "Adonais" [Bartleby]; "The Triumph of Life" [Bartleby]; "A Defence of Poetry" [Bartleby]
Feb. 9 Romantic poetry cont.: Romantic Aestheticism Keats, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" [Bartleby]; "Ode to a Nightingale" [Bartleby]
Feb. 14 Romantic poetry cont. Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" [Bartleby]; "Ode to Psyche" [ Bartleby]; "To Autumn" [Bartleby]; "Ode to Melancholy" [ Bartleby]; "La Belle Dame sans Merci" [Bartleby]; "The Eve of St. Agnes" [Bartleby]
Feb. 16 Victorian poetry: the Melancholic/Aesthetic School Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott" (107), "Ulysses" (131), "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (197), "The Kraken" (107)
Feb. 21 Victorian poetry and Melancholy cont. Tennyson, "In Memoriam" (149); John Ruskin, "Of the Pathetic Fallacy" (607)
Feb. 23 Victorian Aestheticism Tennyson, "In Memoriam" (149)
Feb. 28 Victorian Aestheticism Aestheticism lecture
Mar. 1 Victorian poetry: épater la bourgeoisie Swinburne, "The Triumph of Time" (446); "Hymn to Proserpine" (457); "Under the Microscope" (662)
Mar. 6 Victorian poetry: épater la bourgeoisie Swinburne, "The Garden of Proserpine" (462); "Ave Atque Vale" (467)
Mar. 8** Victorian poetry: Poetry as Sensation Literature Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess" (224); "Porphyria's Lover" (227); "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" (230); "Love Among the Ruins" (233); "'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came'" (251)
Mar. 13 Victorian poetry: Poetry as Sensation Literature Robert Browning , "Bishop Blougram's Apology" (263); "Andrea del Sarto" (277); "Caliban upon Setebos; or, Natural Theology in the Island" (302)
Mar. 15 Victorian poetry: Becoming Modern Matthew Arnold, "The Forsaken Merman" (349); "Dover Beach" (374); "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (616)
Mar. 20-22
No class: Spring Break
Mar. 27 Victorian poetry: Becoming Modern Matthew Arnold, "The Buried Life" (375); "The Scholar-Gipsy" (379); "Empedocles on Etna" (355); "Hebraism and Hellenism"
Mar. 29 Victorian poetry: Victorian Aestheticism

Walter Pater, "The Child in the House" [Periodicals Archive Online]

Apr. 3 Victorian poetry: Aestheticism Walter Pater, "Preface" and "Conclusion" to The Renaissance (665)
Apr. 5 Victorian poetry: Aestheticism and Purity Christina Rossetti , "Goblin Market" (412); D. G. Rossetti, "Jenny" (392)
Apr. 10 Victorian poetry: Late Aestheticism Christina Rossetti , "Goblin Market" (412); D. G. Rossetti, "Jenny" (392)
Apr. 12 Victorian poetry: Late Aestheticism D. G. Rossetti, "Jenny" (392)
Apr. 17 Victorian poetry: Late Aestheticism "Michael Field," "La Gioconda" (504); "'Ah, Eros doeth not always smite'" (506); "'Sometimes I do despatch my heart'"; "Trinity" [Literature Online]
Apr. 19 Victorian poetry: Kipling and Public Poetry "Recessional" (517); "The White Man's Burden" (518); "If" (518); "McAndrew's Hymn" [Literature Online]
Apr. 24 Victorian poetry: Kipling and Public Poetry "Recessional" (517); "The White Man's Burden" (518); "If" (518); "McAndrew's Hymn" [Literature Online]
April 29*** Due date of critical research paper no class
May 1**** Take-home final exam due  

* Due date of first critical paper.
**Due date of second critical paper.
***Due date of critical research paper.
****Due date of take-home final exam.

N.B. Page numbers above refer to The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory, unless an online source is indicated.

  • Literature Online (database of primary texts, British and American literature)
  • Literature Resource Center (access to a variety of primary and secondary texts, primarily British and American literature)
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (biographies of British literary and historical figures)
  • Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (self-explanatory)
  • JSTOR (large database of secondary sources in a variety of disciplines, some reaching back to the nineteenth century)
  • Project Muse (large database of recent [1999-2008] secondary sources in a variety of disciplines)
  • Periodicals Archive Online (large database of secondary sources, many from the nineteenth century)
  • Nineteenth Century Masterfile (digital index: identifies locations of primary and secondary material)
  • Academic Search Premier (large database of primarily secondary source material)
  • MLA Bibliography (bibliographic index of secondary sources in modern language and literature study)

N. B. All the above sources can be searched online through the ASU Library website. You must go through this site in order to be validated to use these sources.


The sites below can be searched directly through the internet: