1. How does the representation of nature change between the eighteenth century and the Romantic period? What is the function of nature in poetry of each period? In what ways is it seen as a poetic subject in its own right, as something to be described? In what ways is it seen as an inspiration for the discussion of other topics? Consider Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" (see pages 2858–2867 in volume 1C) and William Cowper's selection from The Task, "A landscape described. Rural Sounds" (see pages 2875–2977 in volume 1C). Compare this to William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Frost at Midnight.
  2. Compare and contrast Sir Philip Sydney's The Defense of Poesy (see pages 933–954 in volume 1B) to Percy Bysshe Shelley's A Defence of Poetry? In what ways do these texts propose to defend poetry and its function? How do these reflect the differing conceptions of poetic expression of the sixteenth century and the Romantic period? How does Shelley's similarly titled text respond, if at all, to Sydney's arguments?
  3. Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) predates John Stuart Mill's The Subjection of Women (1860) (see pages 1155–65 in volume 2B) by more than half a century, but both address stereotypes about women's social roles and rights. In what ways are they addressing the same topic but proposing different solutions? How does Mill's text appear as a response to Wollstonecraft, even though he makes no mention of her in his entire text?
  4. How does poetry express a uniquely apocalyptic vision in the Romantic period compared to the twentieth century? Compare the selections from Blake's The French Revolution and America: A Prophesy to William Butler Yeats's "The Second Coming" (see pages 2106–2107 in volume 2C). What inspires apocalypse and what is its end result? How is redemption figured, if at all, in these poems? How is this representation of apocalypse and redemption appropriately situated historically with respect to relevant events in the lives of these poets?

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