European Intellectual History Syllabus

42.346 Spring 2002

Week Three Study Questions on web readings

A) Read Blake, "There is No Natural Religion" at

Blake, "There is No Natural Religion"

How do the ideas/ propositions in this work compare to the ideas of John Locke and David Hume?

What does Blake make of rationalist/empiricist epistemology?

In what ways does this entire poem cycle qualify as "Romantic"?

NOTE--Blake was a visionary both in his poetry and in his engravings and paintings.  For samples of his engravings and painting, see


B) Read Wordsworth, "Advertisement" and "Introduction" to "The Prelude of 1799" at and

Please note that the Introduction is a very long section--I want you to read at least the first 30 lines....

In what sense is this "advertisement" a "Romantic" statement?

Explain Wordsworth's attitude towards nature-- How does he place himself in nature (what is it to him)?

What other themes make this a work of "Romantic" poetry?


C) Read Keats, "Happy is England" at "Robin Hood" at

Keats, "Happy is England"

What seems to be Keats' main point here?

In what sense id this a "Romantic" work?

 Keats, "Robin Hood"

How is Keats using historical myth to advance Romantic principles?

NOTE:  I am particularly fond of Keats; although Lord Byron is generally considered the English romantic poet, I have always considered Keats his superior.  I encourage you to read more Keats, at  And if you are interested in sampling Byron, try


D) Read a portion of the 1837 edition of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein  at I'd really like you to read the Author's introduction, chapter 6, and chapter 20, but you may chose any portion of the novel.  But do try to read a "chunk" of it!

Shelley, Frankenstein. 

What we discuss will depend upon what sections of the novel you have read.  I'd like you to pay attention to passages that would help us discuss Marry Shelley's images of  creation;  science; nature; man; emotions; industry; and England's place in the world.

NOTE:  You may be interested in looking at page from which this html version of the novel is linked, the very useful "Resources for the Study of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" from Georgetown University, at


E)  For an example of the contrast between Enlightenment Classicism versus Early Romanticism in French Painting, compare Greuze, "The Paralytic" at  to Gericault, "The Raft of the Medusa" (1819) at or at

In class we will discuss the contrasts between these images and the styles/movements they represent.


E)  For a wonderful example of early Romantic response to industrialization in English painting, see Turner, "Rain, Steam, Speed" at and "The Fighting Temeraire" at

We will discuss this image in class.

European Intellectual History Syllabus