How successful is Emily Brontë in balancing the tension between realism and symbolism in Wuthering Heights?

In the course of the semester, you will be expected to write one assessment essay, worth 50% of the overall module mark. It should be ca. 2,000 words in length, and you will be expected to answer ONE of the following questions:

  1. I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green & pleasant Land.  (Blake)

Discuss ‘Mental Fight’ in the work of Blake.

  • Discuss the inclusion of the simple, the commonplace, and the dramatic in the works of Wordsworth that you have studied on the module.
  • With reference to the works of Coleridge that you have studied on the module, discuss the view that Coleridge’s self-analytical habits are over-developed and masochistic.
  • “The Romantic poet balances an inward examination of memory and imagination with an outward exploration of her or his place within the natural landscape.” Discuss with reference to one of the Romantic poets whom you have studied this term.
  • How successfully, in your view, do the works of Shelley that you have studied on the module represent the poet’s war against compromise, hypocrisy and authoritarian impositions?
  • ‘Do not all charms fly / At the mere touch of cold philosophy?’ (‘Lamia’). Comment on the tension between reason and beauty in Keats’s poetry.
  • ‘I won’t philosophize, and will be read.’ (Don Juan) It was Byron’s apparent lack of high seriousness that so irked his critics. Write an essay on seriousness and/or the lack of seriousness in Byron’s work.
  • ‘Thomas De Quincey’s opium addiction made the writing of his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater possible.’ Discuss this statement with reference to De Quincey’s work.
  • Frankenstein is, in a sense, a repository for some of the fears and hopes of its age.’ Discuss this statement with frequent reference to the novel.
  1. ‘Mr. Tennyson belongs decidedly to the class we have already described as Poets of Sensation. He sees all the forms of nature with a trained eye, and his ear has a fairy fineness. There is a strange earnestness in his worship of beauty which throws a charm over his impassioned song, more easily felt than described, and not to be escaped by those who have once felt it.’ (Arthur Hallam).  Discuss.
  1. How successful is Emily Brontë in balancing the tension between realism and symbolism in Wuthering Heights?    
  1. “Jane Eyre is constantly torn between her Romantic inclinations towards passion and freedom and her very Victorian respect for duty and morality”. Discuss this with reference to Bronte’s novel.
  1. ‘For all the romance and sensationalism of his verse, Robert Browning is a poet of psychological realism’. Discuss.
  1. Middlemarch taken in its completeness has almost everything except what is ultimately the most important thing of all, that final vibrant intensity of the living organism’ (Arnold Kettle). To what extent do you agree with this view of the novel?
  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray ‘is a fusion of philosophy, an expression of sexual orientation and passion, fear of the loss of beauty, of social influence, of science, and a lexicon of decadent literature and art.’ Discuss.

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