The Lure of British Romanticism


August 23, 2015

British Romanticism represents a fascinating slice of English literary history during which major literary movements arose that are still relevant today. Novels such as “Ivanhoe¬†and “Pride and¬†Prejudice, along with short stories of the time evoke the spirit of this age, and many remain timely even in our day and age. In her upcoming six-week course, “British Romanticism: Revolutions In Style“, new instructor Anna Saikin takes us back in time where we can experience the history and sentiment of the age. We visited with her to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your class?

Saikin: My class offers participants the opportunity to experience British eighteenth-century and Regency literature within its historical and social period. We will read selections from gothic, romance, and historical novels alongside stories that were originally published in periodicals and miscellanies.

WIH Reporter: What might surprise us about the topic?

Saikin: Many present-day readers consider Jane Austen’s novels to be “timeless” classics, in part due to their enduring popularity. As participants read Pride and Prejudice alongside works by Austen’s contemporaries, they will find that Austen’s unique style is in part due to her absorption of current literary trends and her ability to rewrite them in new and interesting ways.

WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions might we have about the class?

Saikin: The term “Romantic” does not necessarily mean that every work has a central love plot. While that can be true, as in the case of Austen, Romantic period literature is also filled with intrigue and suspense, philosophical reflections on nature and society, and political commentary on revolution. We will look at all meanings of the term to determine its usefulness or limitations relating to this literary period.

WIH Reporter: What format will you use in teaching the class.?

Saikin: Our classes will begin with a brief introduction to the week’s reading, and will transition to a guided discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions and reply depending on their familiarity with the text. Romantic authors were invested in the art of self-reflection, so I will give participants optional journaling assignments to help them explore their reading experience.

Saikin’s class begins on October 20th, from 1:00 pm. to 3:00 pm. For more information, or to register, click here.