William Blake’s “The Garden of Love” and William Wordsworth’s two poems “Expostulation and Reply” and “The Tables Turned” provided a real gateway into some of the central insights of the Romantic Movement: their disaffection with mere book learning, with conventional morality and their belief in the power of nature and the resources of childhood to vanquish the problems of modern civilisation. Their ideas still have a powerful relevance for today. Where can we find the source of a real knowledge that could bring some healing to a world riven with conflict? This is what the Romantics were looking for. They expressed what they found in their poetry, their art, their novels. Wuthering Heights (which we will be turning to shortly) can be seen partly as a vision of what kinds of experience could save humanity from its natural destructive tendencies. I look forward to exploring that book with you in particular. So there is much ahead of us this semester in terms of ideas, imaginative worlds, and challenges to our habitual ways of thinking.
Here are a few starting topics for your 19th Century Literature Blogs (remember your blogs are leading up towards an ePortfolio which should be underpinned by the question:
Do the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 19th C still have relevance to human needs in the 21st C?
1/ Take a line from any poem looked at this week and build your own poem, based on your own experience, from the chosen line.
2/ Describe your own experience of “wise passiveness” either basing it on an experience in nature or somewhere else that has real meaning for you.
1/ Create a mini- digital kit that focusses on the key Romantic ideas of either William Blake or Wordsworth. Write a brief evaluation of any resources that you put into your Blog.
2/Describe what you think Wordsworth is proclaiming in his short poem“My Heart Leaps Up” (page 335 Norton).
An important note to close on: our Blogs this semester are intended to give you a space where you can develop and share your best thoughts on the literature and ideas being studied. They will be a great resource for your final exam. More importantly they are a space where you can share ideas and interact with others in the class. We can together build a vibrant space of meaningful ideas and creative expression that can supplement what we have each week in our face-to-face class time. So I look forward to seeing how you build this group experience. One of the first things you must do is post your WordPress URL (and a few details about yourself) in the WordPress Forum which you will find in the very first LEO Module. So go there and do that right away……