Honors College Theses

Publication Date



English (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joe Pellegrino


Most readers and critics see the historical sequence of Western literature as a series of discrete literary periods and perceive these periods as reacting against one another like a pendulum swinging, each successive period countering its predecessor. This thesis interrogates that common understanding by demonstrating the persistence of Romantic themes in subsequent literary periods through the scope of British poetry. I trace three overarching tenets of the Romantic ideal through subsequent literary periods. literary periods: Romanticism, Victorianism, Modernism, and Postmodernism or the Contemporary era.

The Romantic ideal primarily emphasizes the importance of emotion over logic and reason. This ideal is articulated through thematic issues like a focus on the Common Man, a return to Nature, and a fascination with the Exotic. After situating each of these within the Romantic period, I then illustrate the pervasiveness of these themes in representative poetry of the Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern eras.

Thesis Summary

This essay discusses three main tenets of British Romanticism and traces them through the four subsequent literary eras.