English 304A: Romanticism & Antiquarianism
Winter, 2012–2013
Fri. 9-11:50am; Room 250–108
Professor Denise Gigante
Office: 460-329; phone: 725-7080
The Old, the Antique, the Historical Past:
What were, and are, the imaginative contours of these phenomena?
What are their differences and/ or areas of overlap?
How might the “ancient” shed light on, or challenge the idea of the modern?
Why the fascination with the old, the antique, and the historically remote in the
period known as Romanticism; or, how does the historical situation of this
fascination signify?
How does the quest for the origins and genealogies of all things relate to
“progress,” or the cultural thrust forward?
What is the relation between the natural and the supernatural? The outlandish and
the mainstream? The eccentric and the person of “common sense”?
We will consider these questions philosophically, historically, and aesthetically in
relation to the genres of verse romance, translation, the essay, and the novel.
Required Texts:
George Borrow, Romantic Ballads (9781409932727)
Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (9781445571225)
Walter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (9781406526479)
Walter Scott, Old Mortality (0199555303)
Walter Scott, The Antiquary (9780199555710)
Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers (9780140621105)
All else available on courseworks
Week 1 (1/10): Subsitutue Assignment
Please read the selected ballads for week 2 from Percy’s collection and locate the
(readily available) texts keyed to them. Choose one pairing and identify at least
five questions of critical interest for the class to discuss. Think through how any
of the questions above might be relevant to this discussion.
Week 2 (1/17): Romance and Romanticism
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry: The Gaberlunzie Man1; Sir Patrick Spence2;
Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne3; “Edward, Edward” 4; The Children in the
Wood5; Sir Cauline6; “The Boy and the Mantle” 7; “King Arthur’s Death” 8
Wordsworth’s Old Cumberland Beggar
Coleridge’s “Dejection: An Ode”
Leigh Hunt, “Robin Hood’s Flight”
Franz Shubert, D. 923 (1827)
Charles Lamb, “Dream Children”
Coleridge, “Christabel”
William Collins, “Ode on the Poetical Character”
Tennyson, L’Morte d’Arthur
Week 3 (1/24): Historical Romanticism
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry: (Vol 1): The Ancient Ballad of Chevy-Chase;
The Battle of Ottorbourne; Edom o’Gordon; King Estmere; The Child of Elle;
(Vol 2): The Tournament of Tottenham; Hardyknute; (Vol 3): The Marriage of Sir
Gawaine; The Legend of King Arthur; Glasgerion; Child Waters; Little Musgrave
and Lady Barnard; The Knight and Shepherd’s Daughter; Lord Thomas and Fair
Ellinor; The Lady turned Servingman; Gil Morrice; The Legend of Sir Guy; Guy
and Amarant; Fair Margaret and Sweet William; The Lady’s Fall; The Bride’s
Burial; The King of France’s Daughter; The King and the Miller of Mansfield;
The Birth of St. George; St. George & the Dragon
Bishop Thomas Percy, Essay on the Ancient Metrical Romances
Week 4 (1/31): The Celtic Fairy Tradition
Thomas Percy, Robin Good-fellow; The Fairy Queen; The Fairies Farewell
William Blake, The Crystal Cabinet; cancelled plate to Europe; Introduction,
The Songs of Innocence; Introduction, The Songs of Experience;
Thomas Crofton Croker, Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland
Leigh Hunt, Essay on Fairies
Rosemary Sweet, “Antiquaries and Antiquities in Eighteenth-Century England”
Week 5 (2/7): The Scandinavian Supernatural
George Borrow, Romantic Ballads (trans. from the Danish of Oehlenslaeger)
The Death-Raven; Fridleif and Helga; Sir Middel; Elvir-Shades; The HeddybeeSpectre; Sir John; May Asda; Haager and Eliza; Saint Oluf; The Heroes of
Dovrefeld; Sven Vonved; The Tournament; Vidrik Verlandson; Elvir Hil;
Waldemar’s Chase; The Merman; The Deceived Merman; The Elder-Witch
Week 6 (2/14): Border Balladry
Walter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border; Tales of Wonder
Glenfinlas, or Lord Ronald’s Coronach; The Eve of St. John; Cadyow Castle; The
Grey Brother; Thomas the Rhymer; The Fire King; Frederick and Alice; the Wild
Huntsmen; The Erl-King; War Song; the Norman Horse-Shoe; The Dying Bard;
The Maid of Toro; Helvellyn
Thomas Percy, “Essay on the Ancient Minstrels in England”
Week 7 (2/21): The Antiquarian
Walter Scott, The Antiquary
Week 8 (2/28): Gastronomical Antiquarianism
Dick Humelbergius Secundus (pseud.), Apician Morsels
On the Productions of the Early Writers on Diet; Of Dieting and Cookery,
referable to both Ancients and Moderns; De Re Culinaria; Accont of a Curious
Book; A Short Dissertation on the Origin of Dentiscalps, or Toothpicks
Week 9 (3/7): The Antiquarian II
Walter Scott, Old Mortality
Week 10 (3/14): Antiquarianism Satirized
Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers, through chap. 12
Isaac D’Israeli, “Literary Forgeries”
Final Assignment:
Fifteen-page scholarly essay on a question or topic of your choice: please discuss
with me possible formulations as early as possible.