final study guide Engl 324

This is not an all-inclusive list and does not cover every idea or work that may be on the final exam.  It is a guide, not a template for the exam. The ideas (which have discussed in class) below are intended to help you think about the works we've read and studied this semester. Use these ideas with 1.) your notes and own ideas to think about the poems and prose we have read along with 2.) your review of the readings. Don't forget the Intro. to the Romantic Age gives you general ideas that will help you frame specific works.  The author biographies will too.  Also, The Romantics video we watched the first week of class (Films on Demand).  Finally, see Course Notes

Focus on your notes and the texts. Write out practice responses to previous quiz questions as well as questions you make up. Remember the quiz and midterms examples we went over in class throughout the semester. 

Don't forget the colored pictures in the middle of each volume of the NA.  See the syllabus.

The final will focus on readings after the midterm, the second half of the semester.  However, there are carry-over works for which you will be responsible from before the midterm: The Prelude (Book 1), the Gothic (Castle of Otranto selection), "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Note:  You won't have to write on Endymion, but may have the opportunity to.  Any brief question you do have to answer will be about the very basics of the poem.

  1. Identifications*: You will identify a passage (title of the poem or prose piece) and explain its significance. (I will not give you obscure passages.)
  2. Multiple choice*, fill in the blank, or matching
  3. Short Answer**  Think of individual works as well as connections among works
  4. NEW - Longer essay question (1-1/2 pgs) focusing on a single work or on comparing/contrasting works. Also, you will have some choices.

*Like midterm; **Like quiz and midterm questions.
You will have some choice.

Time for Final Exam: 2hrs. for thinking, writing, and revising. Actual exam time will be approximately 1 1/2 hrs

Key terms: the sublime, the Gothic, Byronic hero, skeptical idealism, Ode form

Quick-read poems will not be on the exam; however, you might consider them as you think about the readings that will potentially be on the exam.

Below are some issues we have considered this semester. Expand on these and add works not listed here. Also, works might fit in more than one category.


Gender: How are gender issues presented in the Romantic period? See Intro, pp. 9-10 for issues. CW, e.g., Miss Emily, other women in the novel; Castle of Otranto, e.g., Isabella; Manfred, e.g., the desire for female embrace and Astarte and Manfred as doubles.  Remember, views of women's rights and issues were not uniform.  Although it will not be on the final exam, Barbauld's "Washing Day" is a good starting point.  Conventional attitudes (e.g., domesticity and marriage) about women? That define femininity? Ways in which women challenge or defy these conventions? Also, what about masculinity? Caleb? Falkland? Tyrrel? Walpole and Byron's Manfreds? In Keats's "Ode": male observer who engages the rape scene on the urn?  Who want the urn itself ("unravish'd bride") to give up its meaning?  This idea of male power might refer to Lord Elgin's marbles (claiming and possessing historical artifacts) as well as the male poet/critic who shapes and informs literary canons.

Nature: How do Romantic poet's use/view nature? What is the role of nature? A catalyst for meditative verse? Is nature benevolent and nuturing (although not unproblematic)?--The Prelude, Bk 1  Indifferent and/or ominous? Manfred? "Mont Blanc"?  What are the different implications of these views?  How does the speaker-poet access/try to access nature? --Shelley's poetry.  How is the imagination important for endowing nature with significance? Reciprocal relationship between the individual and nature? **Role of the sublime? The finite mind's encounter with infinite nature or the universe? The Prelude, Bk 1 --Passages in CW, e.g., p. 44

Individual/Society: A large theme with numerous subthemes.  Why is Romantic poetry centered on the individual (self)?  Is it significant that many poems we studied this semester trace conflicts within the speaker's mind (burden of consciousness/alienation and striving after the infinite against limits--See NA, pp. 19-20) and attempts to resolve these conflicts, to show the self as authority or the development/formation of self? "The Rime"? Manfred? (Schumann's Manfred Overture), and "Mont Blanc"?  What about the egotistical sublime--the extreme focus on self that becomes disabling? Manfred?  Finally, how do poems and drama we read this semester engage in social criticism?  Historical/social reading of "To Autumn" I shared with you in class.  Are the notions of self and society mutually exclusive? Government and social institutions vs self-government? Effects of social class? What makes one human? --Caleb Williams

Revolution--as historical event and metaphor.  Consider the intro. to Romanticism in the NA.  How is the idea revolution presented in Wordsworth's The Prelude?  Byron's Manfred? Shelley's "Mont Blanc." (Think of our Shelley quick read poems: "Ode to the West Wind" and "England in 1819." Also, our revolution reading the first half of the semester--Wollstonecraft)

The nature of art and the poet: What is the relationship between life and art? Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn": the concerns of mortality/change and immortality/permanence?  As we discussed in class, the oscillation between observer and reader of art.  Also, what can we say about the poet?
The figure of the bird: not earthbound, sings with perpetual joy, and one with nature.  Not the burden of consciousness--alienation from nature.  Finally, don't forget the relationship between form and content in poetry: meter, rhyme scheme, aliteration, etc. (e.g., "To Autumn"; "To a Sky-Lark")

Endymion (The footnotes allow you to read this selection very well on your own.)

1. Preface: An apology for this "feverish attempt"; note Keats's reference to dying in par. 2.  Appeals to "feeling" readers who understand the poet's own assessment of his "failure in a great object."  Pay attention to the point about "imagination" in par. 4.  See footnotes about the classical myth of Endymion and perhaps look this up.

2. Our selections: See footnote 4.  By "self-destroying" (l. 799)  or the loss of personal identity through our imaginative identification with a beloved person outside ourselves, we escape for the material limits and self-centered condition of ordianry experience to achieve a "fellowship with essence" (ll. 779; 25), which is a kind of immortality within our mortal existence (l. 844).

Note the parallel to "Ode on a Grecian Urn":  mutability/change and permance/immortality