Romantic Visions

Course Dates: 11/01/22 - 22/03/22
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: KS - Keeley Street
This literature course will trace the development of the Romantic shift in sensibility, from the rediscovery of medieval ballads – and the lucrative trade in fakes – in the late 18thC, to the first generation of Romantics such as Wordsworth and Coleridge ,who set English poetry on a new course by declaring that poetry was not the cleverly crafted expression of accepted truth but “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”; to the brilliant second generation of poets such as Keats and Shelley who found new areas of the imagination to explore; to its legacy in later centuries and our own time.
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Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00

Course Code: HLT161

Tue, day, 11 Jan - 22 Mar '22

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

“What is now proved, was once only imagin’d” declared the visionary poet and artist William Blake in 1790. He was right: the Romantic revolution transformed Western culture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and still shapes the way we think today. On the one hand, violent political change with revolutions in America and in France – “ Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/But to be young was very heaven”, wrote Wordsworth – on the other, a new way of looking at the world, in which imagination overthrew reason and the individual triumphed over social convention.

What will we cover?

The course will concentrate mostly on poetry, where the Romantic impulse found is most powerful expression, but we will also consider the revolt against Classicism, the Romantic fascination with drug induced reveries, the allure of the supernatural, and the darker manifestations of Romanticism in the explosion of Gothic writing and art.

As well as the established giants of the period, we will look at the work of writers such as Thomas de Quincey, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Walter Scott. Although this is a literature based course, where appropriate we’ll look at the art and architecture of the period.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Recognise recurring themes in Romantic literature
• Relate these to the wider world of Western culture
• Feel confident enough to explore further study of related work on your own.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for those who enjoy reading and discussing literature and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition and class discussion. Videos and clips will also be shown and discussed. You will asked to read the texts before the class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Apart from the reading material, you should bring with pens, notepaper and file in which to store handouts and other course materials.

Students should buy or borrow the following text:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: D The Romantic Period (Paperback – 3 April 2012)

NB this is not the latest edition but it is easily available online for considerably less than the latest one (which would be an acceptable substitute if the 2012 edition proves hard to get).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other literature courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature at

Julian Birkett

Julian Birkett is a teacher and writer specialising in modern literature. He previously worked in the Arts department at the BBC as a producer of series such as The Late Show, Modern Poets in their Own Words, The Victorians and The Culture Show. He has taught in London and at the University of Mumbai.He aims to create a friendly but thoughtful atmosphere in his City Lit classes and to provide a stimulating variety of activities from tutor input to discussion to group work and video clips.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.