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. The NA intro to the Romantic Age gives you general ideas that will help you frame specific works. The author biographies will too. The Ackroyd video The Romantics offers helpful background and analysis. And don't forget the 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 examples we went over in class throughout the semester. The card
you used for group work in class has good notes.
**The midterm will cover readings through (including) Hazlitt. If there is a question on the Gothic/The Castle of Otranto, you will have the choice to answer it--you will not have to.
Possible question types:
- Identifications: You will identify a passage (title of the poem or prose piece) and explain its significance. (I will not give you obscure passages.)
- Multiple choice, fill in the blank, or matching
- Short Answer* Think of individual works as well as connections among works.
*Like quiz questions. You will have some choice.
Time for midterm: 75mins. for thinking, writing, and reviewing. The actual exam time will 60-65 mins.
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.
Note: The syllabus lists quick read poems we've read this semester that will not be covered on the midterm.
- Why is Romantic poetry and prose centered on the individual (self)?
Is it significant that many works we've studied this semester are meditative
lyrics or narratives that trace reflections and conflicts within
the speaker's or narrator's mind and attempt to assess reflections
or resolve conflicts to show the
development/formation of selfhood and/or to explore the speaker's or
narrator's feelings and
emotions? Related to these questions are the concerns of nonconformity and
- Examples: Blake's speakers in the Songs, Thel, The Prelude, "The Rime," Hazlitt, The Castle of Otranto (perspective of characters) (Gothic as a concept & genre).
- Innocence and Experience--The Child
- Consider the image of the child and the qualities the child represents. Why is the child a significant figure in Romantic literature? (Wordsworth: "The Child is the Father of the Man"--"My heart leaps up, p. 335 ) Examples: Blake's Songs, "Washing Day," The Prelude
- Social Criticism/Relationship of individual to society
- How do works we've read address social concerns or critique societal conventions and attitudes? Think of the effects of the French Revolution & the Industrial Revolution, for example. How does the literature we've read address and critique social, economic, and political issues (e.g., poverty, gender, slavery) within society? Examples: Cowper, Wollstonecraft, Barbauld, Blake's Songs (Contraries: States of Innocence and Experience), the Gothic (The Castle of Otranto).
- Influence and role of Nature
- Think about how nature is presented in poems we've read this semester. Also, consider the difference between describing nature (external objects) vs internalizing nature (imagination aided by memory). Consider the concept of the sublime. Finally, the reciprocal relationship between the speaker-poet (individual) and nature. Examples: "The Rime," The Prelude.
- Poetry and the Poet: Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings
recollected in tranquility/power of the creative imagination/poet as bard or
- This idea refers to how poetry is written as well as its form but also the figure of the poet. See the Intro to Romanticism, pgs. 10-16. Examples: "Washing Day," "London's Summer Morning," The Preface, The Prelude, "The Rime"
- Poetry and poetic form/style (**I will not ask you the scan lines of poems.**)
- Consider how form and meter reinforce themes we have discussed or is at odds with theme. (What is the effect of form in conflict with theme?) Poetry: Barbauld, Cowper, The Prelude, "The Rime" Prose: Hazlitt