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Thread: Book Club on the Romantics?

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    Book Club on the Romantics?

    Would there be any interest in forming a book club on the Romantic poets of the early 19th century?

    i.e. "The Big Six" (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Keats, and Shelley)

  2. #2
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Certainly, but when would you start the book club?
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I would like that

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    I'm not sure a formalized book club would be required for this. If you started a thread dedicated to one of the Romantics, you could just start posting a poem for discussion, people would probably join in.

    Most are fairly familiar with the Romantics already, and it might be daunting to have to plow through a whole lot of Keats for a discussion group, but I'm sure many would be willing to discuss single poems in a less structured setting.

    In the case that you do decide on a book club. Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads is the best place to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    I'm not sure a formalized book club would be required for this. If you started a thread dedicated to one of the Romantics, you could just start posting a poem for discussion, people would probably join in.

    Most are fairly familiar with the Romantics already, and it might be daunting to have to plow through a whole lot of Keats for a discussion group, but I'm sure many would be willing to discuss single poems in a less structured setting.

    In the case that you do decide on a book club. Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads is the best place to start.
    Hm, what qualifies as a book club on these forums? My only points of reference are the Book of the Month and the Summer Reading book clubs, where books are decided democratically. There seems to be quite a process involved in this - too much a process for poetry - so your idea sounds far more appealing.

    So before I start this thread - I think I have decided on a single thread - what format do you think we should have?

    One idea is that someone volunteers to select a certain number of poems for discussion each week - the poems of course being from the Romantics, or perhaps being contextual aids - and every week we have a new volunteer do the selection. To make it less of a process, the person we choose for the selections can simply be the first person to volunteer, provided they hadn't done it the previous week.

    But we also should take into account that the poems should progress by a certain logic - thematically, chronologically, or by some other useful order - and such a haphazard way of doing things won't be any guarantee. Though perhaps this is pessimistic, and perhaps the Romantics themselves are a narrow enough window. If people post when the poem was published, we will have something of a timeline for comparison.

    Sorry for my thought process, but I think, per your suggestion, this is the simplest way to run things. When I find time for it I will start things off. In the meantime feel free to provide any constructive criticism - I'm rather new to creating discussion threads on these forums.
    Last edited by ktm5124; 07-29-2010 at 01:24 AM.

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    I would love to join in too, whatever be the format of this discussion. I like OP's idea of starting with Lyrical Ballads.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    If we're doing this, I think it might also be worthwhile to include Robert Burns and some Dorothy Wordsworth.

    If we're going chronologically with the poets we should start with Blake, then Burns, then Wordsworth and Coleridge, then the late Romantics.

    I'm least comfortable talking about Blake's later poetry, it's a bit beyond me. His early Songs of Innocence and Experience are easier reads.

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    Downtown Poet bhamtya's Avatar
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    I would certainly like to join in......SUPPORT!
    It seems one thing has been true all along.
    You don't really know what u have got till its gone...

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    If we're doing this, I think it might also be worthwhile to include Robert Burns and some Dorothy Wordsworth.

    If we're going chronologically with the poets we should start with Blake, then Burns, then Wordsworth and Coleridge, then the late Romantics.

    I'm least comfortable talking about Blake's later poetry, it's a bit beyond me. His early Songs of Innocence and Experience are easier reads.
    I think it would also be worthwhile to read their predecessors, such as Thomas Gray and Alexander Pope, to see where they are coming from, and how they are diverging.

    I will make the thread tomorrow night, when I get home from work.

    Also, how do you think we should go about enforcing a chronological order? Do you think we should just forget the idea of ordering the selections, and let people choose whatever? Or should we move from one poet to the next after a certain interval has elapsed? I trust your experience over mine :-)
    Last edited by ktm5124; 07-29-2010 at 04:07 AM.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Well we can just let it go organically I guess, we can start with Blake, and move on after a couple weeks. Sometimes a poem can garner pages worth of discussion, while others might just produce 2-3 responses. The advantage of discussing public domain poetry is that you just need to post the poem in the thread and anyone who feels like discussing it can quickly read it and jump in.

    A set interval could work too.

    Of course, there's the option of someone volunteering to lead the discussion, if they feel up to it. I guess I could open a thread for this on Blake. The thing about discussing major poets is that you could probably go on for months on any one of the "big six." Although, I'm by no means an expert on Blake, he can be very challenging, I do own a copy of his complete works though, and I have the Norton and Longman anthologies for the relevant period to point me towards more representative poems.

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    I am defiantly in !

    Although I think we should stick to just the big six, as adding more poets creates to much of a diverge into other areas and we may find out selves in a thread about the classicist instead of the romantics.

    I agree we should do them chronologically, however with small changes. Here is my proposed order.

    1) Wordsworth - the best introduction to english romanticism

    2) Byron

    3) Shelley

    4) Collerige

    5) Keats

    6) Blake


    This way we get a mix of the young and the old, as well as putting blake in the back as though he is an early romantic his works are arguably the most complex and trying to understand.

    Of course im good with any way we do this

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    That order works for me, we could begin with a discussion of some selections from the Lyrical Ballads. Then we could tackle "Tintern Abbey," a couple sonnets and maybe touch on the autobiographical Growth of a Poet's Mind.

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    The Romantic Verlaine is being discussed now, why not join in there? As it is each of these have their own subforum, so all discussion ultimately will be moved to there. Still feel welcome to start a thread there.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    I think a systematic discussion of the English Romantics in a single thread would warrant being in the poetry section. Part of the reason no one ever wants to go talk about the authors with their own sections is that those subsections are practically black holes.

    Plus, it helps to have a centralized thread to organize the discussion.

    If it is really necessary to localize threads about the individual poets in their respective subsection, then it would at least help to have a thread in this section to link to the current poet being discussed.

    Edit: Oh, but by all means people, do join in on the Verlaine discussion.

  15. #15
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    I think a systematic discussion of the English Romantics in a single thread would warrant being in the poetry section. Part of the reason no one ever wants to go talk about the authors with their own sections is that those subsections are practically black holes.
    Yeah, so long as ktm keeps the thread title general and non-specific (something like the title of this thread) it shouldn't get shuffled to an author's subforum. And, yes, that's a good thing. The author's subforum is Lit-Net's equivalent of urban back alleys. No one goes there unless they need something bad--like homework help. Many good discussions have gone there to die: see my Our Mutual Friend conversation. If you want, you can join the petition to get a separate book club subforum created here:

    http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=51380

    Quote Originally Posted by ktm5124 View Post
    One idea is that someone volunteers to select a certain number of poems for discussion each week - the poems of course being from the Romantics, or perhaps being contextual aids - and every week we have a new volunteer do the selection. To make it less of a process, the person we choose for the selections can simply be the first person to volunteer, provided they hadn't done it the previous week.
    I don't want to overwhelm you with more advice--you're already are getting plenty of good suggestions from others it looks like--but I do want to encourage this idea. OrphanPip asked for a more "organic" approach for the thread's development, but I think that can lead to the thread fizzling. Really, it appears that threads need someone who's committed to lead the discussion. They need to introduce new material and generally facilitate conversation. I think some of the more successful threads like Janine's DH Lawrence Short Story Thread (http://www.online-literature.com/for...37250&page=180), Dark Muse's Poe Thread (http://www.online-literature.com/for...=37422&page=16), and even my Chekhov Short Story Thread way back ago (http://www.online-literature.com/for...=17728&page=72) all worked because there was someone keeping the thread alive, responding to posters, and introducing topics. Having someone select the works and maybe even lead discussion might be a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    The Romantic Verlaine is being discussed now, why not join in there?
    Verlaine is a little hard to pin down to a particular artistic movement. He had a pretty wide career. Some of his works are Romantic, but many are from a more decadent/symbolist tradition. It's a bit of jump from his works to the British Romantics, so maybe keeping the threads apart would be clearer. I don't know. I'll wait for ktm to say something.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

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