In the British Isles, the Romantic Movement at the beginning of the 19th Century was a cultural phenomenon which encompassed literature, art, and music. Our New England Transcendentalists (Thoreau, Emerson, and friends) owe much to the Romantics, who questioned organized religion, distrusted institutions, investigated individual psychology, promoted spontaneity and invention, embraced revolution, honored passion, and valued imagination above all. What were the limitations of their vision? In what sense are we their inheritors? We will read and discuss key poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Hemans, Keats, and others, to understand how these voices reach into our own time.
Handouts of the readings will be provided.
Cammy Thomas has a PhD in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she wrote her dissertation on the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She has published two books of poems, Cathedral of Wish, and Inscriptions. A third book, Tremors, is forthcoming in 2021, all from Four Way Books. She has taught literature and creative writing for many years, and lives in Lexington.