This is the CURRENT VERSION of the study guide.

Revised 02/21/2013

The exam is designed to:

Preparation Tips:

Part I. Short Answer:  Answer five of six questions with a brief response (5 x 5=25 total points).  Some will require a word or two; others will require a sentence or two.   

These questions will be factual questions based on information from the introduction to the period, PowerPoints, class notes, the author biographies, and the literature you read.  You will need to know some of the important historical dates we emphasized, significance of historical events, facts about the authors lives, and details from the plots. Some of this information will come from works we discussed, but a significant portion will come from works on the reading list that we did not discuss in class. 

Part II. Identification:  Choose 4 of the 5 quotations or images and identify author/artist and title of the work (2 pts.).  Then in two or three sentences explain the significance of the lines (why the lines are especially important to the work) or important features of the image (if it's a painting). (6 pts.). (4x8=32 total points)


"But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!"

'Twas throwing words away; for still

The little Maid would have her will,


Wordsworth's "We Are Seven"

This poem depicts a conflict between a man who uses reason to count and a little girl who counts with her heart.  When the man asks her how many brothers and sisters she has, she says "seven," but "two are dead," so the man thinks she has five siblings.  Wordsworth gives the little girl the last line asserting that "We are seven" and suggests that emotion is an important factor in experiencing the world and questions the value of only relying on the neoclassical value of reason.  The exclamation points the man uses in the first and second lines of the stanza show that the man who is supposed to be more reasonable has, ironically, lost his cool in this argument.

Note that writer addresses the big picture idea of the poem and uses details from the passage to support his response. If people lose points on this part of the test, it is because they don't point to details from the passage or explain the significance of the passage--they just identify it and move on or simply tell how it fits with the plot of the poem.

If I ask you to identify an image/painting, you'll need to know the title and painter and to explain how one of the features of the painting ties to one of the central ideas of the period.

Part III. Essay:  Choose 1 of 2 and answer in a brief essay.  (43 total points).  Make sure to plan your answer before writing it.  Begin your answer with a clear thesis statement that forecasts your answer (no need for an extensive introduction, but you may if you want to), and then develop your thesis with organized paragraphs that include topic sentences, use specific references (concrete details, not necessarily quotes) to the texts, have clear analysis which explains your answer to the question or addresses the topic.  Take time to proofread your answer before you turn it in.  These questions test both your ability to write in depth about particular ideas and make connections across genres and periods. 

I'll choose TWO at random from among this list to include on the exam--you will answer ONE.

  1. As we've discussed on numerous occasions, the French Revolution was a significant influence on several writers of the Romantic period.  Pick two POETS and explain how the ideas of the French Revolution influenced each of their work in two or three different ways.  Make sure to use specific examples.
  2. We've spent a fair amount of time talking about imagination (and the book's introduction spends several pages discussing this important concept).  Using Coleridge's concepts of the Primary and Secondary Imagination, discuss how two different writers display characteristics of the primary and/or secondary imagination.  As part of your answer, you'll need to define these two important concepts.
  3. One of the old-fashioned takes on the Romantics is that they are poets of isolation and solitude; however, several of the poems we have read this semester emphasize the importance of sympathy and/or community.  Select two of those poems (by different authors) and explain how each poet stresses the importance of community in different ways.
  4. The nineteenth century was a period of significant religious change in Great Britain.  Dissenting groups were gradually given more religious freedom and some competed with the Church of England for members. Select two poems that deal with Christianity and explain what attitude they express and how they express that attitude differently.
  5. For obvious reasons, Wordsworth is often called the "Poet of Nature."  Using two of his poems explain how/why Nature is so significant to him.
  6. Romantic poets besides Wordsworth also value nature—select two poets (besides Wordsworth) and explain how/why Nature is significant to them.
  7. Select two ESSAYISTS with opposing views about the French Revolution and explain the reasons behind their different views.
  8. Byron's Don Juan was often criticized as being immoral, but in many ways this is a very moral poem.  Pick two social issues the poem addresses and explain how the poem subtly makes a moral comment on them. 
  9. We saw a strain of sexism in some of the poems we read this semester.  Choose poems by two different authors and explain how their poems might appear sexist to twenty-first century readers.  In other words, how did the poets depict women in different ways that seem sexist today?
  10. Pick two poems by different authors and explain how they use very different strategies or styles in their works to encourage people to revolt against the status quo.
  11. One pattern we saw in the work of John Keats was his struggle between reality and dreams, between things as they are and an idealized world in which he'd like to live.  Select one of his poems and explain how he negotiates this struggle.  What are the strengths and benefits of each side and how does he resolve this struggle?
  12. Like many poets, Keats is very interested in issues of permanence (immortality) vs. impermanence (mortality).  Explain how Keats explores this conflict in a poem from our reading list and why this conflict is so important to him.
  13. Some of the female poets we read reinforce traditional gender stereotypes and roles while others challenge those roles.  Select two poems by women authors, one that reinforces traditional gender roles and one that challenges them, and compare and contrast these poems. 
  14. Austen's Northanger Abbey presents a satire of gothic romance.  Pick two examples of how she satirizes gothic romance and explain what point she seems to be making with this approach.