The Woke Romantics

Aus Iaawiki

Winter Semester 2019/20

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Course Information
Nr. Kursbezeichnung Typ Zeit Raum DozentIn
154528 The Woke Romantics 2 HS Di 08:30 – 10:00 R. 3.406 Möllers
Course Description

‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number—
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many—they are few.’

Addressing the multitude to escape the oppressor’s subjugation in his infamous “Mask of Anarchy” (1819), the young Percy Shelley comes across as a Romantic poet deeply concerned with pressing social issues and inequalities – or, to use a more contemporary term, he simply stays woke.
Originally used to describe enhanced awareness of political injustice and racial challenges, “woke” has eased its way into everyday usage of English. However, it is now also employed negatively for individuals pretending to be deep thinkers, when in fact they are merely following the mainstream discourse.
This class attempts to investigate this double-edged argument regarding British Romantic writers, who were commonly known for their mindfulness and fellow feeling for the less fortunate. Were they truly concerned with these pressing issues or were they simply used as a good selling point? We will read key works of this central period in British literature and discuss how and why contemporary issues such as gender identity, ecocriticism, racial inequality and political instrumentalization of the law already surface in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writings.

Reading List
  • Shelley, Mary. The Last Man. Oxford University Press, 2008. [ISBN: 978-0199552351]
  • Additional texts will be uploaded on Moodle.

Course Requirements

Active participation in our weekly discussions, delivery of a group presentation plus additional assignments based on your course of study (term paper, written exam, project).

2009 601 601, 701, 702
2016 601 601 601, 701, 702
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:
PO vor WS 16/17: Please consult the dedicated website for the Angewandte Studiengänge.
PO ab WS 16/17: Please consult the dedicated website for the Angewandte Studiengänge.