Small Wonders

(Ends Oct. 21) The “small wonders” of this class are short poems, songs, sonnets, odes, and others from a period famed for excellence in these short literary forms. The poetry produced in England in the years 1789-1820 revolutionized the themes and diction of poetry and substantially rethought the nature of poetic thinking. This subject will read ample selections of lyric writing from the major poets of English Romanticism, and will situate this poetry in relation to what William Wordsworth described as “the great national events” of his moment (political revolution, economic modernization, urbanization and industrialization, feminist and abolitionist movements, etc.). Our readings will attend chiefly to the invention of formal literary languages responsive to these contexts. Authors will include William Blake, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Anna Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. The student who takes this subject can expect to gain an intimate familiarity with some of the most exhilarating, challenging, and beautiful short poems in the language.