Faculty Committee

Janis Caldwell, Julie Carlson, Alan Liu, Kay Young

Notes and Resources

It is assumed that students taking the first qualifying examination in the Romantics and Victorian field will be familiar not only with the following primary texts but also with the principal critical and interpretive issues concerning these texts and the period at large.  Students are thus encouraged to read widely in the relevant secondary literature.  Selections marked by an asterisk (*) must be read in the sixth edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.  Those marked with a cross (+) are digitized and available online, consult with the Staff Graduate Adviser.

Reading List



William Blake

  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • America, a Prophecy or Europe, a Prophecy

Note: While it is appropriate to concentrate on the texts of Blake’s poems, some familiarity with the “illuminated” or illustrated versions is necessary.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Eolian Harp,” “Fears in Solitude,” “France: An Ode,” “Frost at Midnight,” “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,” “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan,” “Christabel,” “Dejection: An Ode,” “Ne Plus Ultra,” Biographia Literaria, chaps. 1-4; 13-19

William Wordsworth

from Lyrical Ballads: “Simon Lee,” “We Are Seven,” “The Thorn,” “The Last of the Flock,” “The Idiot Boy,” “Expostulation and Reply,” “The Tables Turned,” “Tintern Abbey,” “The Brothers,” the “Lucy” poems (“Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known,” “A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal,” “Song: She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways,” “Three Years She Dwelt in Sun and Shower”), “Lucy Gray,” “Poor Susan” “The Two April Mornings,” “Nutting,” “The Old Cumberland Beggar,” “Michael”; Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1802 version); “Resolution and Independence,” “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,” “Immortality Ode,” “The Solitary Reaper,” “Ode to Duty” “Elegiac Stanzas,” “Surprized By Joy”; The Prelude (1805 version)

Dorothy Wordsworth
From The Grasmere Journal +

Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • “Mont Blanc,” “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty”
  • “Stanzas written in Dejection–December 1818, Near Naples,”
  • “Ode to the West Wind”
  • “Lift Not the Painted Veil”
  • “Adonais”
  • “The Triumph of Life”
  • A Defence of Poetry
  • The Cenci

John Keats
“On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer,” “Sleep and Poetry,” “Eve of St. Agnes,” “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” “Ode to Psyche,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” “Ode on Indolence,” “Lamia,” “To Autumn,” The Fall of Hyperion, Selected letters in Norton Anthology (*)

George Gordon, Lord Byron

  • “She Walks in Beauty”
  • “Oh! Snatch’d Away in Beauty’s Bloom”
  • Don Juan

Felicia Hemans
“The Lady of the Castle,” “The Graves of a Household,” “To the Poet Wordsworth,” “The Homes of England,” “Stanzas to the Memory of the Late King” +

Joanna Baillie
De Montfort

Charlotte Turner Smith
Sonnet I (“The partial Muse has from my earliest hours”), Sonnet XLIV (“Written in the churchyard at Middleton in Susses”), Sonnet XLVII (“To fancy”), Sonnet LVII (“To dependence”), Sonnet LIX (“Written September 1791, during a remarkable thunder storm, in which the moon was perfectly clear, while the tempest gathered in various directions near the earth”) +

Letitia Elizabeth Landon
“Sappho’s Song,” “The Proud Ladye, “Love’s Last Lesson,” “The Lost Pleiad” +

John Clare
Poems in Norton Anthology(*) (“Mouse’s Nest,” “I Am,” “Clock a Clay,” “Song [I Peeled Bits of Straw],” “Song [Secret Love],” “An Invite to Eternity,” “A Vision”); plus “To the Snipe,” “Remembrances,” “Autumn,” “The Peasant Poet” +


Mary Shelley

Jane Austen

Sir Walter Scott


Mary Wollstonecraft
Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Introduction and Chaps. 1-4, 9, 12-13

William Hazlitt
“Character of Mr. Burke,” “Self-Love and Benevolence,” “My First Acquaintance with Poets,” “On Gusto,” “On Poetry in General,” “Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays,” “Macbeth,” “Othello,” “Coriolanus

Edmund Burke
Reflections on the Revolution in France +



William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
Joseph Conrad, “Preface” to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, Heart of Darkness
Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm


Alfred Tennyson

  • In Memoriam A.H.H.
  • “The Lady of Shalott”
  • “The Lotus-Eaters”
  • “Ulysses”
  • “Tithonus”
  • “The Passing of Arthur” from Idylls of the King
  • “Locksley Hall”
  • “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

Robert Browning

  • “My Last Duchess”
  • “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church”
  • “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
  • “Fra Lippo Lippi”
  • “Porphyria’s Lover”
  • “Youth and Art”
  • “Caliban upon Setebos”

Matthew Arnold

  • “In Harmony with Nature”
  • “The Forsaken Merman”
  • “The Buried Life”
  • “Philomela”
  • “The Scholar Gypsy”
  • “Dover Beach”
  • “Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse”
  • “Thyrsis”

George Meredith
Modern Love

Emily Brontë

  • “I’m happiest When Most Away”
  • “The Night Wind”
  • “The Prisoner. A Fragment”
  • “No Coward Soul is Mine”
  • “Remembrance”
  • “Stars”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

  • “The Blessed Damozel”
  • “The Sonnet,” “Lovesight,” and “The One Hope” from The House of Life

Christina Rossetti

  • “After Death”
  • “A Triad”
  • “In an Artist’s Studio”
  • “Goblin Market”
  • “Winter: My Secret”
  • “Cardinal Newman”
  • “Sleeping at Last”

Elisabeth Barrett Browning
Aurora Leigh, selections (*)

William Morris
“The Defense of Guenevere”

Algernon Charles Swinburne

  • “I Will Go Back to the Great Sweet Mother”
  • “Hymn to Proserpine”

Gerard Manley Hopkins

  • “God’s Grandeur”
  • “The Windhover”
  • “Pied Beauty”
  • “Spring and Fall”
  • “Felix Randal”
  • “Carrion Comfort”
  • “Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord”
  • Wreck of the Deutschland


Harriet Martineau, Autobiography
George Eliot, “Margaret Fuller and Mary Wollstonecraft”
Thomas Carlyle, “Characteristics”(*); from Past and Present: “Democracy”(*) and “Captains of Industry”(*)
John Henry Cardinal Newman,The Idea of a University (*) and Apologia Pro Vita Sua (*)
John Stuart Mill, “What is Poetry?”, On Liberty (from Chap. 3)(*) , The Subjection of Women (from Chap. 1)(*) , Autobiography (from Chap. 5)(*)
John Ruskin, “The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century”
Eliza Lynn Linton, “The Girl of the Period”+
Francis Power Cobbe, “What Shall We Do with Our Old Maids” +
Matthew Arnold, from “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (*), Culture and Anarchy (from Chaps. 1, 2, 5) (*), from “The Study of Poetry” (*) 
Walter Pater, from The Renaissance (*): Preface, “La Giocanda,” Conclusion
Charles Darwin, Selections from The Descent of Man and On the Origin of Species+

Revised 8/03