final study guide Engl 324

This is not an all-inclusive list and does not cover every idea or work that may be on the final exam.  It is a guide, not a template for the exam. The ideas (which have discussed in class) below are intended to help you think about the works we've read and studied this semester. Use these ideas with 1.) your notes and own ideas to think about the poems and prose we have read along with 2.) your review of the readings. Don't forget the Intro. to the Romantic Age gives you general ideas that will help you frame specific works.  The author biographies will too.  Link to the Course Notes

Focus on your notes and the texts. Write out practice responses to previous quiz questions as well as questions you make up. Remember the quiz and midterms examples we went over in class throughout the semester. 

Don't forget the colored pictures in the middle of each volume of the NA: C3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Carry-over works: Frankenstein, "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison," Gothic selections, Preface to Lyrical Ballads

Possible question types

  1. Identifications: You will identify a passage (title of the poem or prose piece) and explain its significance. (I will not give you obscure passages.)
  2. Multiple choice, fill in the blank, or matching
  3. Short Answer*  Think of individual works as well as connections among works
  4. NEW - Longer essay question (1-1/2 pgs) focusing on a single work or on comparing/contrasting works. Also, you will have some choices.

*Like quiz questions. You will have some choice.

Time for midterm: 2hrs. for thinking, writing, and revising.

Below are some issues we have considered this semester. Expand on these and add works not listed here. Also, works might fit in more than one category.

Key terms: the Gothic, Byronic hero, döppleganger, skeptical idealism, the sublime, negative capability (Keats—NA, pg. 942)

Quick-read poems will not be on the exam; however, you might consider them as you think about the readings that will potentially be on the exam.


Gender—How are gender issues presented in the Romantic period?  M. Shelley's Frankenstein—overreaching male scientist, sexuality and birth, marriage and companionship, parenting. (Female characters in the novel.)  Keats’s “The Eve of St. Agnes"—depiction of Madeline and Porphyro?  Traditional lovers?  Is Madeline a typical heroine? Lover? Does marriage offer her freedom/identity?  Issue of sexuality?

Remember, views of women’s rights and issues were not uniform.  Although it will not be on the final exam, it may be helpful to think about Barbauld’s ”Washing Day”?

Nature—How do Romantic poet’s use/view nature?  [Byron’s Manfred/Shelley’s skylark and mountain? Keats’ nightingale?]  Is nature benevolent and nuturing? [“Tintern Abbey”? ”This Lime-Tree Bower”?] Indifferent and ominous? [Manfred? “Mont Blanc”?]  What are the differences between these views? How does the speaker-poet access nature? [Shelley’s poetry?]  How is the imagination important for endowing nature with significance? Reciprocal relationship between the individual and nature? Role of the sublime (see Course Notes—The Prelude): finite mind’s encounter with infinite nature or the universe. ["This Lime-Tree Bower"?Manfred?] 

Revolution—as historical event and metaphor.  Consider the intro. to Romanticism in the NA.  How is the idea revolution presented in Wordsworth's Preface.  Byron’s "Prometheus," Manfred? Shelley's The Defense of Poetry? M Shelley's Frankenstein--revolution in science and its results?  The creaure as representative of the rise of the disenfranchised classes? (Think of our revolution readings--Burke/Wollstonecraft)

Poetic self and act of writing—How is the act of writing/composition at odds with the moment of inspiration, of imaginative poetic creation?  Can this dilemma be resolved?  Can language capture the meaning of human experience, the meaning of poetic (imaginative) truth? [“Nightingale”/”Ode to the West Wind”/A Defense of Poetry?] How/why does the poet-speaker speak for all humankind?

Individual/Society—Why is Romantic poetry centered on the individual (self)?  Is it significant that many poems we studied this semester are meditative lyrics that trace conflicts within speaker’s mind and attempt to resolve these conflicts, to show the development/formation of self? [Manfred? Schumann's Manfred Overture, “Mont Blanc”? “Nightingale”? “Grecian Urn’?]  What about the egotistical sublime—the extreme focus on self that becomes disabling? [“This Lime-Tree Bower”? Manfred?] What about the concerns of mortality/change—immortality/permanence? [“Grecian Urn”? “The Eve of St. Agnes”? “To Autumn”?] Finally, how do poems we read this semester engage in social criticism?  Are these two notions (self/society) mutually exclusive? [“Tintern Abbey”/Frankenstein/Shelley and Keats’ poems?]

Don't forget the conept of revolution.  See your notes on the video we watched the first week of class.  You can watch it again--See Course Notes.