Romantic Endangerment

Winter 2016-2017


Alexis Chema

This course investigates the trope of endangerment in Romantic poetry, where it is used to interpret and respond to the sense of rupture that prevailed during a period that's been called “the age of revolutions.” We’ll examine how our primary texts draw analogies between historical, environmental, and civilizational decline (rural depopulation, the “westering” of civilization, millennialism, the extinction of the human species) and narratives of psychological and affective endangerment that give rise to literary preoccupations with aging, the waning of creativity and wonder, and the problem of passionate existence (it wears you out). If world and mind are both endangered, what modes of survival can literature imagine? (C, F)