Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lloyd Davies (Director), Alison Langdon, Wes Berry

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The English Romantic poets of the early nineteenth century wrote numerous poems from genres and styles all across the poetic spectrum. From the epics of ancient origin concerning kings and fanciful settings to the political odes on fallen leaders and even the anthropological histories of what it meant to live in their time, these poets stretched their stylistic legs in many ways. One of the most interesting is their use of the short and rule-bound sonnet form that enjoyed a reemergence during their time. Though stylized throughout its existence, the sonnet most often falls into a specific form with guidelines and rule. What makes the Romantic interest in this form noteworthy is that like the other forms, they found new ways to use the sonnet as a means of poetic experimentation and creative expression. Exploring the various internal and external variations, those changes that took place within the lines and phrases of the sonnet and those that form the organizing and rhyming portions of the poem, this study seeks to establish the ways the Romantics took the uniform techniques of the sonnet and stretched its bounds to find new means of creativity. Close reading of the poems of William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley reveals the variant use of caesura, creative dissonance, as well as original organization and rhyme scheme to accomplish purely Romantic goals within the uniformity of the sonnet form.


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Poetry