LITR 5535 American Romanticism

University of Houston-Clear Lake, summer 2002
Student Research Proposals

Following are initial proposals by students for research journals.

Research Proposal Assignment: Due via email by 13-14 June (or before).

You may include this research proposal with your midterm email or email it separately to

For your Research Proposal, write at least three sentences including the following information:

·        Identify the topic you want to develop for your essay.

·        Explain the source of your interest, why the topic is significant, and what you want to learn about this topic.

·        Mention the likely types of research you will do, e. g., Background research (encyclopedias, handbooks, critical digests, etc.), Secondary research (advanced scholarly articles or books exploring a particular question, or reviews of scholarly books)

·        Research report proposals will be posted on the webpage.

·        Feel free to confer with me in person, by phone, or by email about your possible topic before submitting a proposal.

Natasha Bondar

I would like to research the historical aspect of the Romantic literary movement and its co-emergence with "the rise of the middle class, the city, industrial capitalism, and the nation-state" as outlined in the Objective 1c.  This particular topic is of interest to me because, on one hand, I subscribe to the New Historicist notion that literary texts are products (whether reactions against or confirmations) of the period in which they are written and are to be understood in the period's context. On the other hand, I like to ask "Why?" and this objective allows me to ask this question as I look into the cause-effect relationship between literature and society. I plan to do both background and secondary research.  Background research will be useful for constructing a historical overview of the period of late 18th through mid-19th centuries, as well as Romanticism as a movement whereas secondary research will hopefully afford the scholarly insights into this literary period.



Ileana Dejuan


I was thinking of addressing the historical and cultural topic of when was Romanticism.  I was thinking of discussing how politically the time presented ideals of the value of the white male-individual.  However, inequality was the situation for many which led writers to champion individualism and generational changes.


However, I was also thinking of perhaps discussing the literary genre of the Gothic.  I would look at authors such as Poe, Hawthorne and Cooper and discuss their use of the supernatural in terms of the haunted physical and mental space, shadow of death and the use of dark and light in moral terms.




Dendy Farrar


I would like to attack the topic of the Harlem Renaissance for my research journal.  I plan on researching the time period and the literature, music and artwork of the time.  I have always been fascinated by the literature, music, and artwork that came about during this integral time in America.  So many works of creative genius come out of the time period known as the Harlem Renaissance.  To be honest, I do not really know that much about the time period or the artistic expressions that were ; however, the little that I have been exposed to has been very interesting to me.  I could stand to learn a lot about this literary and artistic movement and because I have a base-level interest in it I think that the research process would be quite enjoyable for me.  I plan on doing some background research from encyclopedias, websites, anthologies and some secondary research from scholarly essays and criticisms. A particular question I might formulate might include something like, "why is this time in our nation's history so rich in artistic and cultural expression?"  Of course, as you might imagine, there is no telling where my research might take me -- I might be swept away by the "romanticism" of the time and my question may falter a tad -- but I promise not much.




Cynthia Garza


I would like to do research on slave narratives.  I read some slave narratives in my multi-culture class at SHSU and have never really had the time to learn more about this topic.  I would like to perform primarily secondary research on slave narratives. 




Michelle Glenn


For my research journal, I would like to pursue the topic of the sublime.  The mere definition of this term is what inspired me to learn more about it, as it simultaneously evokes both a sense of excitement and terror in the person experiencing it.  I have a few ideas about a more specific topic and I am hoping that my initial research will help me decide which direction to take.  I have thought about researching the development of the sublime, how the sublime is developed in literature, or how the sublime has affected other facets of culture (or vice versa).  Currently, I am leaning towards the latter.  I realize that there is a lot that can be done with this topic and welcome any suggestions that you may have.  In doing this research, I hope to learn as much as I can about the sublime.  This will allow me to recognize and appreciate this phenomenon in other fields of study, and possibly even incorporate it into my own writing.  As far as research goes, I plan to use a variety of materials.  They consist of: encyclopedias, books, journals, databases, and the Internet. 




Beth Hammett


1.  Topic of development for my essay:
How the fashions of the American Romantic time period were an extension and reflection of the ideas and beliefs of the people participating in the movement.  I will explore the dress of the American people and relate their costumes to their social beliefs.  I will explain how the costumes mirrored the people's ideas and beliefs of the American Romantic Movement. 

2. The source of my interest is the contrast between dress of people living in rural areas versus the city.  Were people reading works by the American Romantic period authors dressing similar to romantic heroes/heroines?  Were people able to define their beliefs and ideas by their dress? 
a. The topic is significant because of the change in society.  Industrial Revolution and wars were taking place that may also have influenced the way people dressed.  Artwork and music may also have played roles in the change of society and the way people dressed.
b. I want to learn if the dress of people during the American Romantic period went along with the beliefs of the people.  Do people's ideas about life change the way they dress?  What changes in fashion took place as a result of the American Romantic movement?

3. Research will include novels of the time period, poems describing people of the time period, periodicals, websites, and movies depicting characters during the American Romantic period.  
a. Secondary research will be fashion books, essays by individuals, etc…



Kayla Logan

I would like to research Louise Erdrich.  The book of my interest is The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001).  Because of the recent copyright, my secondary research on the novel may be limited.  However, I believe an author study could prove very fruitful. This would focus on the Romantic qualities of Erdrich's work as a whole (novels, short stories, poetry ).  I hope to find Romantic qualities, such as idealsim, crossing borders, desire/loss, and the romantic heroine throughout Erdrich's work in addition to the cultural issues of gender, race, and American ideology.




Shehla Mohammad


I was going to do my research on the psychology of the gothic genre, particularly Poe.  However, now I am considering doing something about my selection reading, only because it will make me more knowledgeable in the area.  I have had a tough time putting together the midterm and would like to do something more familiar in the upcoming projects.




Krisann Muskievicz


I'm planning on researching mazes/labyrinths and the human willingness to be confused or scared.  I'd also like to look at the math reasoning vs. trial and error/random pattern of solution. 


I find this interesting because I'm noticing the way authors place characters, especially in the Gothic, in confusing situations for the entertainment of the reader - sometimes to equally confuse or challenge the reader.  I think it is an interesting human situation that we want to be scared, distracted or confused willingly. 


I plan to use the internet, professional journals (psychology), mathematical texts, and biographical texts for authors' background/possible motivation/inspiration for confusion/horror based pieces.




Kellye Nye


What is the Harlem Renaissance?  How does this specific period exemplify the qualities of American Romanticism?  The definition of renaissance is “rebirth.”  How and to what extent was Harlem reborn?  In my research I would like to find the answers to these questions.  During the American romantic period, this country was still facing significant racial division.  Because of racial injustice, it is necessary to understand how the African-American community still succeeded in leaving an important mark on American literature. To find the answers to my questions, I will use both background resources and secondary resources.





Jill Petersen








Al Rodriguez

I plan to research the work of Rebecca Harding Davis, primarily because I know so little about her. A cursory glance at Internet information would seem to suggest she's a transitional figure between full-blown Romanticism and nascent Realism, and this link is what I wish to pursue. Who were her influences? What were her achievements, even after death? What elements of the Romantic are evident in her proto-feminist, abolitionist and humanist attitudes? And in her development, what about her work can truly be labeled "Romantic?"


I'd appreciate any suggestions on this topic. I was familiar with her son's writings as a war correspondent, etc., but know next to nothing about Harding Davis materna. Hope you're having a swell weekend.





Liz Sydnor


I would like research Emerson's Naturalist theory.  I am particularly interested in finding out if Emerson's theory relates to the Vegetative Myth.  As I spoke about before, I am doing paper in Dr. Gorman's American

Poetry comparing Emerson, Whitman, and Eliot (Leaves of Grass and Wasteland).  I am interested in exploring whether or not the feeling of oneness with nature that Emerson discusses in his "Nature" essay is similar to the symbiotic relationship that Eliot discusses between the land and the "Fisher King".  Therefore, I would like to narrow to Emerson to discover if this might be so.




Jennifer Thurik


I intend to focus on the portrayal of women in Romantic literature.  I would like to see if there is a difference in that portrayal based on the gender and ethnicity of the writer.  In addition to examining this function in American Literature for the purposes of this course, I feel I will be assisted in furthering my thesis which will likely focus more closely on violence against women in literature and how our patriarchal society sets that focus up.  My primary focus for this journal will remain, however, on examining the roles of women in American Romanticism.


I will examine websites dealing with Romanticism in literature from its conception to present time and how the roles of women have changed or have remained unchanged.  I would also like to focus on a female writer such as Bradstreet and compare her to Hawthorne in the way that each uses women in their stories.  I think examining authors of color will yield interesting results.  The slave narratives will likely influence my research, specifically since I am very interested in “Incidents” by Jacobs. 





LaDonna Williams


I have decided to do research on Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Honestly, being from the south I grew up with a distaste for her work.  Simply because I thought she did not do any research on her subject.(and she was from the north). I believe this will be a way for me to learn many things about her that I did not know and I will gain a better understanding of her work as Romanticism.




Lynda Williams


  • For my research journal, I plan to investigate the topic of feminism in the Romantic time period.
  • The subject of feminism has intrigued me in my later studies, as it is a subject I never heard much about until after my undergraduate and earlier graduate days.  And since most of my undergraduate and graduate instructors were white males, I, like you, Dr. White, never read works such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a class assignment.  I do intend to include males, such as Frederick Douglass and Walt Whitman, in my study as well as females.
  • I already have some materials that I think will prove helpful in this research, specifically Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings (Miriam Schneir, ed).  I also visited Seneca Falls, New York, last year where I obtained some information relevant to this topic.  However, I do plan to look up other sources:  the ones you mentioned at the bottom of the handout, “The Changing Ideas of the American Renaissance,” look interesting.  If you have any other suggestions for sources, Dr White, I would certainly appreciate them.