Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets

Course No. 2477
Professor Willard Spiegelman, Ph.D.
Southern Methodist University
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Course No. 2477
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Course Overview

The verse of the English Romantic poets is as daunting in its scope and complexity as it is dazzling in its technique and beautiful in its language. Professor Willard Spiegelman illuminates masterpieces of English literature by poets Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Byron, as well as women Romantic poets.

His emphasis is on technique, on how a poem accomplishes its objectives, and on "how it means." To this end, he meticulously dissects the poems, directing you to points of interest that merit close observation.

What Is Romanticism?

A much-abused term, Romanticism has at times been shorthand for "wild," "irregular," "gothic," and "modern." It has been associated with love of the exotic, revolt against reason, vindication and defense of the individual, liberation of the unconscious, reaction against science, worship of the emotions, return to nature, and so on.

These generalizations are not particularly helpful. Romantic poets never even identified themselves as "Romantic." But we can describe some common concerns among them:

  • They wrote about Man's relationship to nature, which, with the universe, they considered active, dynamic entities. There is, though, a counter-desire to escape from nature and to deny Man's connection to it.
  • There is a concern with society and politics, and an idealistic notion that humanity can transcend its enslaving traditions.
  • The Romantics were conscious of consciousness itself—of the power of the mind as a force for self-glorification and a seed of self-destruction.

The lectures focus on the poems themselves, and they also tell the story of six great poetic souls and the impact of their personae on their age.

Come to Know the Poets of the Course

Lord Byron was a dashing, swashbuckling figure, "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" said a woman who did know—and loved—him. A man of monstrous appetites and ambitions, his insouciance and supreme self-confidence are reflected in his agile turns of phrase and his audacious, almost cheeky rhymes.

But there are other sides to Byron: the brooding Byronic hero, morose and reclusive, and his tender, generous, and stoic side. This is the man who would write to his sister, in the twilight of his truncated life:

Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined,
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults that so many could find.

William Blake never achieved even the limited fame of his Romantic counterparts, but his radical, idiosyncratically Christian vision inspired many in the counter-culture movements of the 1960s.

An advocate of free love who remained happily married for all of his adult life, whose poetry was caustic social and political protest, Blake was an individual in the extreme. Much of his poetry, notably the Songs of Innocence and Experience, seems simple, but it contains layers of complexity and theological sophistication. As Dr. Spiegelman puts it, "difficulty is not the same thing as depth."

Here Blake ruminates on the nature of darkness and evil in these lines from "The Tyger":

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Like many of the Romantics, William Wordsworth was a bundle of contradictions. Beginning his career, Wordsworth was involved in radical political circles; some speculate that, in Germany, he was an agent for the British Foreign Office.

His poetry is marked by guilt, loss, and inward reflection. Dr. Spiegelman puts it this way: "Wordsworth has struck many readers as sane, haughty, and impossible to know. The man who called the poet 'a man speaking to men' in the preface to Lyrical Ballads often seems troublingly opaque."

Later in life, though, Wordsworth found himself comfortably ensconced as a minor celebrity, an elite country gentleman and the Poet Laureate, light years removed from the anxiety of his youth.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge formed one half of the greatest intellectual friendship in literary history, but, for good and for ill, he stood apart from his protégé Wordsworth. In several handfuls of poems, 15 at most, he transformed English poetry.

Perhaps no other writer so gifted as Coleridge was ever plagued by so much neurosis and self-doubt. Plastic and vast, his mind contained multitudes, yet, hobbled by an addiction to laudanum and paralyzed by the contradictions of his own self-examining processes of thought, he constantly berated himself for laziness.

Coleridge could never be pigeon-holed, and his output ranged from the somber tale of crime and punishment that is "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to his gentle, expansive conversation poems, such as "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison."

Percy Bysshe Shelley similarly resists containment or easy definition, exploding as he did with talent and creativity. Possessed of almost unnatural physical beauty, Shelley wrote poetry that inclined toward the metaphysical, occupying the realms of dense, abstract, philosophical thought.

The lectures that concern Shelley will require some of your most concentrated intellectual exertions but also bring you some of the richest rewards this course has to offer. There is a reason, after all, why the same Oxford University that expelled him for preaching atheism would later erect a statue of the deceased poet as a fallen angel.

John Keats has also been cast as something of a fragile beauty, too tender for this world. His life and work contradict this characterization. These lectures introduce you to the genial but fierce young man of flaming ambition and terrier courage, the man whose indomitable will kept him going in his final months, long after the resources of his body had abandoned him.

This spirit and drive transformed what was, by all accounts, a pedestrian poet in 1816 into a poet for the ages only four years later. Keats's poetry was alive to the last, whether examining intellectual adventure and wonder in "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" or reflecting on mortality as a form of "ripeness" in "To Autumn."

Women Romantic poets had sunk into obscurity by the middle of the 20th century, but in their time their volumes were bestsellers. Felicia Dorothea Hemans and Charlotte Turner Smith were as anthologized and admired during their lives as were Wordsworth and Coleridge. Scholars have revived interest in these neglected poets and critically re-examined their works.

An Acclaimed Teacher and Scholar

Dr. Spiegelman has taught students to love and appreciate poetry for 30 years and has twice been awarded SMU's Outstanding Teacher Award. The Dallas Morning News said his first course, How to Read and Understand Poetry, was inspiring. "Dr. Spiegelman never loses sight of the intimate relationships between the poet and the page, and between the words and the reader."

Romantic poetry is Professor Spiegelman's specialty, and he has written two books on the subject, Wordsworth's Heroes and Majestic Indolence: English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art. He is also a well-known writer on contemporary poetry and the author of The Didactic Muse: Scenes of Instruction in Contemporary American Poetry.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Romantic Beginnings
    Standing in the shadow of Shakespeare and Milton, the Romantics would take the epic themes of the masters and try to recast them in their own voice, suited to their own times, to "make it new." x
  • 2
    Wordsworth and the Lyrical Ballads
    Wordsworth's goal in Lyrical Ballads was to trace the "primary laws of our nature" by showing how the imagination colors ordinary experience in a state of excitement, and by using the "real language of men." The results, in "The Two April Mornings," "The Fountain, " and "Nutting" are straightforward and simple, but sometimes these still waters run deep. x
  • 3
    Life and Death, Past and Present
    In his famous "Lucy" poems, Wordsworth's title character represents his view of mortality as part of a continuous and proper cycle. But the "still, sad music of humanity," as he calls it, also rings in the changes of age for one's very self. In "Tintern Abbey" and the "Intimations Ode," he asks what may be recovered of what time takes away. x
  • 4
    Epic Ambitions and Autobiography
    The Prelude is an effort to plumb the depths of a single human psyche, and craft it into a model for a common human collective consciousness. It is also a search for the origins of consciousness. How, Wordsworth asks, does the boy become the man? In the mode of an almost Christian confessional, he searches through memories of joy, guilt, and fear for the answers. x
  • 5
    Spots of Time and Poetic Growth
    In this second lecture on The Prelude, Dr. Spiegelman shows how Wordsworth locates the building blocks of a mature personality in what he calls "spots of time." These sublime experiences, usually connected with nature, carry him beyond himself to a love of the world, and from there to love of man. His completed epic on moral education through nature would influence great writers to come. x
  • 6
    Coleridge and the Art of Conversation
    A brilliant talker, it is appropriate that Coleridge is known for his "conversation poems." "Conversation" has multiple meanings, referring to informal language, but also to connections; to discourse between individuals and similar relationships between man and nature. In "The Eolian Harp" and "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison," Coleridge first signals his belief in one common heart, shared by all living things. x
  • 7
    Hell to Heaven via Purgatory
    Coleridge once wrote "I believe most steadfastly in Original Sin; that from our mother's wombs our understandings are darkened...our organization is depraved, and our volitions imperfect." In "Cristabel," "Kubla Khan," and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," he explores these themes of fallibility in man, and the possibilities of redemption. x
  • 8
    Rivals and Friends
    Although there is no doubt that Coleridge loved Wordsworth, he came to be plagued by the suspicion that his one-time student had surpassed him. Convinced of his own artistic impotence, he would write beautiful and troubling poems about his own fears and uncertainties. x
  • 9
    William Blake—Eccentric Genius
    If Blake was the most Christian of the Romantics, why did he toil in obscurity, so far outside the mainstream? Blake's rebellion was tied up with his Protestantism and his concern for humanity above hierarchy and authority. Yet his ironic satire of English society can easily go unnoticed by virtue of his Songs' apparent simplicity. x
  • 10
    From Innocence to Experience
    In The Songs of Experience, the veil has truly been torn away, the scales fallen from the eyes. In poems like "The Pretty Rose Tree," "The Garden of Love," and "Ah Sunflower," Blake takes such stable notions as the virtue of sexual fidelity, the value of organized religion, even the very concept of heaven, and complicates them. x
  • 11
    Blake's Prophetic Books
    Blake famously wrote "I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man's." In his Marriage of Heaven and Hell, The Four Zoas, and other prophetic books, he advances feminism, abolitionism and other refusals against the status quo in a grand, apocalyptic, and visionary voice. x
  • 12
    Women Romantic Poets
    One might expect that the popular Romantic verse of women, such as Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans, celebrated domestic virtues. One might be surprised by the pointed social commentary and wide ranging erudition that these women, writing under difficult circumstances, incorporated in their work. x
  • 13
    "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know"
    An aristocrat and a rebel, an egotist who could laugh at himself, a seducer and a loner, Byron captivated all who knew him with the multiplicity of his character. The same variety marks his verse, deceptively difficult, but light and easy in its touch. x
  • 14
    The Byronic Hero
    This lecture examines the dimensions, characteristics, and the longstanding appeal of the dark, brooding, melancholic, sexually alive, and magnetic creature we call the Byronic hero. As seen in Manfred and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, he is not of this world, nor of our species, but curiously above it. x
  • 15
    Don Juan—A Comic Masterpiece
    Don Juan is the showcase for Byron's forté in full-flower: the polysyllabic, improbable, almost gymnastic rhyme. Over the course of this meandering epic, he touches almost every aspect—psychological, emotional, and physical—of human love while making it all look easy. x
  • 16
    Shelley and Romantic Lyricism
    Of all the poets, Shelley most invokes feelings of dualism. "Ozymandias" punctures the idea of human ambition, but acknowledges the permanence of passion. "To a Skylark" is skeptical that the poet can approach nature in its artistry, but marshals all its lyric force to do just that. x
  • 17
    Shelley's Figures of Thought
    Shelley was a serious intellectual with philosophical interests. In "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" and "Mont Blanc," he is able to incorporate inquiries on the transcendence of truth and the nature of the divine into a poetic form. x
  • 18
    Shelley and History
    That Shelley was a radical but not a revolutionary is no small distinction. In Hellas and other poems, Shelley yearns and hopes for progress, but is hard-headed about the limits of political solutions. Mere man, absent "mind-forged manacles," has the true power to free himself. x
  • 19
    Shelley and Love
    Shelley's own romantic exploits certainly leave him vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy and caddishness, but his poetry evokes a tremulous, elevated sexuality that transcends mere sensuousness. Never has erotic freedom enjoyed such a compelling poetic argument. x
  • 20
    Keats and the Poetry of Aspiration
    Keats's rapid ascent from apprenticeship to mastery seems fueled by an almost preternatural awareness of his mortality. His first masterpiece, "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer," displays one of the hallmarks of his work, an occupation with the inner realms of thought. x
  • 21
    Keats and Ambition
    Keats was both thirsty for, and wary of fame. Resigned to providence in life as he would be in death, he felt poetic greatness must come naturally or not at all. In "On Fame" and other poems, he suggests that the fretting over the things of this world is eased both by escape from self-consciousness and revelry in it. x
  • 22
    Keats and Eros
    Keats is always concerned with the interrelations between sexuality and human imagination. In The Eve of St. Agnes, he employs language that engages every sense to serve the theme of sexual fulfillment. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" reflects the darker, antithetical side of Eros. x
  • 23
    Process, Ripeness, Fulfillment
    In "Ode to A Nightingale" and "To Autumn," Keats locates the paradoxes of melancholy dwelling with beauty, and of true immortality dwelling within death. This moving lecture concludes with Keats embracing death with heroic equanimity. x
  • 24
    The Persistence of Romanticism
    Echoes of the English Romantics can be heard in popular music lyrics of the 20th century, including American rock n' roll, but their real legacy comes in the form of the English-language poets, especially in America, who have profited from them, responded to them, and reacted against them. x

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Your professor

Willard Spiegelman

About Your Professor

Willard Spiegelman, Ph.D.
Southern Methodist University
Dr. Willard Spiegelman is Duwain E. Hughes Jr. Distinguished Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He earned his A.B. degree from Williams College magna cum laude and with highest honors in English. He did graduate work at Harvard, where he held Woodrow Wilson and Danforth fellowships and earned an A.M. and a Ph.D. Professor Spiegelman has won three fellowships from the National Endowment...
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Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 35.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Spiegelman Great teachers, like great artists, remind us what it means to be human. Their passion (and compassion) can inspire us and renew our hearts. If people still exist who dedicate their lives to exploring and communicating the eternal human questions that link us all - no matter who we are or where we're from - there is reason to celebrate and to hope. Professor Spiegelman's extraordinary series of lectures on the English Romantic Poets is a shining example of what great teachers and great artists contribute to humanity.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptionally Good AUDIO DOWNLOAD I really enjoyed this TC course. I was familiar with the English Romantic poets and many of their most important works, but Professor Spiegelman added considerably to my knowledge and enjoyment. He is a great guide to the Romantic era and to the six key poets (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Shelley, and Keats), so different from each other. The course is especially good in that Professor Spiegelman devotes three or four lectures to each of these six canonical poets. In doing so, he not only deals with biographical and context matter but, most especially, takes a close look at and reading of significant poems. I found I got the most out of the lectures when I read the poems before and/or after a lecture. The Course Guidebook, pages 72 to 158, contains many but not all of the poems treated in the course. Professor Spiegelman is quite good on how “… we are still living in the long shadow cast by the giant presence of these poets from two centuries back” (Page 2), providing abundant detail as well. I enjoyed such observations as that the humor of the 20th century’s Ogden Nash is not so far removed from Byron’s atypically comic ‘Don Juan’, or that Wallace Stevens’ ‘Snowman’ “…would not have been possible without…” (audio only, lecture 21) Keats’ ‘In Drear-Nighted December’. Finally, Professor Spiegelman includes a splendid lecture on Romantic women poets, “…who followed a path that was simultaneously parallel to, and separate from, that followed by their male contemporaries” (Course Guidebook, Page 2). The 174-page Course Guidebook for this 2002 TC course is a great help, including not only copies of many of the poems discussed, but also good lecture summaries, biographical notes, a glossary, timeline, and annotated bibliography. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fine Course Audio Download. Just as I recall from my university courses, the Romantic poets are continually balancing the sublime with the banal, the melancholic with the solipsistic, the erotic with the mawkish, the eloquent and the tedious. The poetry inself can plumb the depths of human experiences of love, fellowship, isolation, nature, beauty. It can just as likely turn histrionic, self-serving and outlandish. Professor Spiegelman's lectures gives a clear understanding of their lives (including the hard lives of some women poets) followed by insightful explications of key poems. He is a strong lecturer with a fine poetic sensibility.
Date published: 2016-02-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I Clearly Need More Background The poetry in this course was never much understood by me so I purchased this course with the hope of gaining greater insight. The professor did an excellent job of introducing me to each of the poets and situating each in their place in history and literature. Unfortunately, I just didn't seem to have the background to truly appreciate what the professor had to say about many of the poems. Don't get me wrong - I do recommend this course because I did learn plenty. I was just disappointed with the many times I just didn't grasp what Spiegelman was trying to tell me. I would have loved to have listened to his course entitled "How to Read and Understand Poetry" before listening to Romantic Poets. I'm sure that would have given me a much better background from which to start. However, that course has been discontinued. I found this a bit upsetting as this discontinued course is part of the advertising blurb for the Romantic Poets course and is referenced by Spiegelman many times in the lectures of the Romantic Poets course. It was like rubbing salt in the wound - if only you had this course! Unfortunately, our local libraries do not have the How to Read course and the versions available second-hand online were twice as expensive and half as long as the Romantic Poets course. Not to mention the fact that I've had poor luck buying used CDs what with all the scratches, smudges, etc. I'm really disappointed that the Great Courses doesn't offer the How to Read course any more as I feel it would have greatly improved my appreciation of the romantic poets. How about a download course? Overall, this is, indeed, a good course. And, I imagine that the more you like and understand poetry, the more you'll like this course.
Date published: 2015-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great introduction This is a very good introduction into Romantic Poetry. I only wish the company offered CDs rather than the downlaodable version.
Date published: 2014-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Then Felt I In this extraordinary course, Professor Spiegelman teaches Keats' poem, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer." Here the poet says, "Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms seen." After encountering a scene where Homer "ruled," the poet continues, "Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken..." As to experiencing the beauty of these romantic poets, I want to suggest that Spiegelman is really a sort of Chapman for us. However travelled we are in the experience of either life or literature, we see this world more deeply and profoundly for having heard this professor speaking "out loud and bold" on these remarkable English poets of the Romantic era. As with his previous course, these lectures are extremely well conceived, constructed, and delivered. The introduction sets the table beautifully, and the conclusion takes us nicely from these poets on into the future and into our own time. The professor is judicious and artful in his use of time for each of the poets to give us a solid understanding of their lives and times and their place in the order of the development of romantic poetry. But, mostly, and to the professor's great credit, the course is fundamentally about the text itself. We do a deep dive into several of these poets' greatest works. And, in doing so, with Spiegelman's rich and astute guidance, we get to the real gems, that is, the poetry itself. I won't spend much space here on each of the poets, but I do want to make a few points. The teaching on each is splendid, though I believe the treatment of Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats really soars. (Maybe it's just the case with me, but I was a bit impatient to be done with Coleridge. And, perhaps the older I get, I don't have the high opinion of Blake the good professor holds.) Spiegelman - as much as I admire him - does slip on occasion. For example, in his teaching of Shelley, he makes a way-too-simplistic contrast between Greek/Roman views of history (circular) and Judeo-Christian views (linear). For a professor who excels at the nuances and complexities, I was surprised at hearing this sort of surface-level generalization. Notwithstanding a rare blemish here and there, this is a truly great course, one of the best, in my opinion, that one can find in TGC catalogue. Let me close by saying that the last lectures on Keats are among the best teaching I've ever had. Spiegelman's treatment of the Ode to a Nightingale and Ode to Autumn is, quite simply, ethereal. Seeing Keats' thinking and writing at the end of his life through Spiegelman's eyes and words is an extraordinary and transformative experience.
Date published: 2014-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Poetic Journey Audio streaming. Having purchased Dr. Spiegelman's delightful course, How to Read and Understand Poetry, a couple of years ago, I decided to continue my poetic journey with Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets. I was enthralled with this well prepared and comprehensive course. Dr. Spiegelman's lectures are insightful, his analysis of the poets and their writings, brilliant. His voice is poetic, his words flow like the lines in the selected representative verse of the era's greatest poets, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelly, Keats -and others. This course is a "keeper", one you are likely to review many times. The only shortcoming of this five-star course is that it could be longer! Best regards, j.k.h.
Date published: 2014-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Substantial! In this series of lectures, Professor Willard Spiegelmann sets out to discuss the lives and works of English Romantic poets, specifically Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Shelley and Keats. For someone like me who has not given much thought to poetry since high school, Professor Spiegelmann unquestionably succeeds in conveying much new and fascinating information: historical and biographical contexts, significant excerpts from the works, detailed analyses and comparisons, etc. Knowledgeable and passionate, Professor Spiegelmann is no buffoon and takes poetry very seriously! He expects that listeners will read each work covered both before and after any single lecture. His own renditions, calmly read out, are carefully crafted ... just like poems in prose. Although totally different in terms of style, this course may remind you of Robert Greenberg’s on opera. Although you may not actually like the topic covered any more after listening to the lectures than before, you will certainly understand it much better.
Date published: 2013-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Course Let me first say: I do not care for poetry in general. I got this course as a supplement for the literature GRE, and it blew me away. I kept re-listening to lectures, fascinated by the stories the professor told. Not only that, but on the test, I could tell who wrote what by remembering what this course had told me. And finally, it taught me to LOVE these poets. I wish I'd had this professor in college.
Date published: 2013-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and Insightful The course concentrates on the six English poets most associated with the Romantic movement, with just the right amount of detail - this is not a "one lecture per poet" rush job. The course works well with Prof. Spiegelman's "How to Understand Poetry" TC course, but will also work stand alone if you are too embarrassed to have a course of that title on your shelf! (Though to be fair, as I mentioned in my review of that course, "How to..." does have more depth than you might be led to believe by its name alone.) In the Romantics course, I particularly enjoyed the lecture on the concept of Romanticism itself - the word has so many different meanings in different contexts that a "definition" really helps. Prof. Spiegelman really brings out features of the poems that you may not have appreciated before, and also provides a wonderful introduction if you have not explored the romantics before. The poets' (for the most part) rather dramatic life stories also add well to the mix. Heartily recommended.
Date published: 2009-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent-take his other poetry course as well I never enjoyed Romantics, but before I took a course in Wordsworth, Keats et al I decided I needed to brush up. I listened to these lectures two and three times. This was a great course both in the discussion of the lives and work of the best known authors and also in his treatment of the women writers who are less known outside of academe
Date published: 2009-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dr. Spiegelman is the best lecturer in the whole company. He does not waste a word nor moment in his lectures. I never thought I would ever read the works of these poets after high school, but the course really turned me on to them. Not only do you dissect the many individual poems, but you learn the events and personalities of these bards which shaped the style and lyricism of their work. One does not have to read any of the poems sited in the course to enjoy the lectures. However, I read many of them afterwards on my own and felt I was able to extract more understanding of them thanks to Dr. Speigelman.
Date published: 2009-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ROMANTIC POETS STILL INFORM US Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge--these are not sophomoric poets. These are poets' poets, especially Keats IMHO. The world seems to be leaving classic poetry behind, those gorgeous lines that glorify love and beauty and nature and self-awareness. The works of these 5 men will never die, and when you revisit them in this course, you will agree with me. I have never heard a poetry professor explicate lines and verses the way Prof. Spiegelman does. He is just brilliant. Many of the poems covered are known to you but some are not. Yet all of the poems focused upon will speak loudly again and give you their all. Romanticism is not Valentine's Day--it is adventure, discovery, a break from classicism. Romantic poets are real people who make mistakes in their lives and take you through their bliss and their pain. I love these poems and they will always be my friends. Thank you, Professor Spiegelman.
Date published: 2009-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from makes me love the romantic poets I have fallen in love with the romantic poets through listening to these stimulating, beautiful lectures. They are interesting and deep and thorough.
Date published: 2009-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mixed Reaction Good explication of material in most areas, good job with biographical sketches, however I thought he raced through some parts at bewildering pace, and trying to match up outline and poetry cited was a confusing process - he darted in and out of selections, sometimes neglecting to identify what parts he was citing. I thought the professor usually provided good context for the Romantic mindset of the poems, and overall - a satisfactory course, but not one of the more enjoyable ones I have listened to.
Date published: 2009-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Brillant I'm an engineer. I was not able to take the time to study poetry in college. I can tell you that this course motivated me to read lots of poetry from the Romantics and, with this course guiding me along the way, was able to get much more out of the important poems from this period. After the course, I consumed Wordsworth's Prelude, Byron's Don Juan, and the Odes of Keats and discovered a new world that I knew little about. I've listened to the lectures a number of times and always manage to learn something new each time. For someone who loves the English language as much as I do, this is good stuff! Highly recommended.
Date published: 2008-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Teaching Company tapes have enriched my life immeasureably. Is it time to get political?
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Definitive teaching Incredibly well done!
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Professor Spiegelman knows his subject very well and helps us to know it and love it the way he himself does!
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I had forgotten how much I loved the British romantic poets. Thank you for helping me rediscover this love.
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent lecture - enjoyed every minute.
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor spiegelman's energy in presenting his well-delivered and inspiring coures is contagious - I found myslef often listening to him, just as enthusiastically sharing his ideas with family members.
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive lectures and outstanding presentations.
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I haven't studied poetry since 1963 in college. I love poetry and this course helped me understand where the poet came from and helped me understand why the poem was written.
Date published: 2008-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from this course repeats extremely well. I've listened to many of the lectures several times and plan to continue to do so. Professor spiegelman is an excellent teacher.
Date published: 2008-10-17
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