Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

George McCelvey, Will Fridy, Mary Clarke

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Since little critical attention has been given to the dramas of this period, it would seem that further examination of them would be of value. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to investigate the dramas of the major Romantic poets in order to provide a new critical perspective on their plays specifically and Romantic drama generally. From this it is hoped useful conclusions can be drawn. The study will be limited to the plays of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, and George Gordon, Lord Byron. John Keats has been omitted from this group because his only drama was written in conjunction with Armitage Brown, a minor writer. The dramas chosen for this investigation are those which either have been produced on the stage or ware submitted for production. If the author submitted more than one play, the play which the critics consider marks the summit of dramatic achievement of the author has been selected. Included in this study are The Borderers by Wordsworth, Remorse by Coleridge, The Cenci by Shelley, and Cain by Byron. The dramas are presented for discussion according to the chronological order in which they were written.

The study will include an examination of the background against which the tragedies were written - the state of the contemporary drama, the stage, the plays and the audiences. Those factors which may have affected the work - the author's thoughts, the facts of composition, and elements of Romanticism - will also be considered. In addition, both contemporary and modern criticism will be included. (The criticism beginning with that of George Bernard Shaw in 1886 will be classified as modern.) These criticisms will form the bases for evaluations of the plays.


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Performance Studies | Playwriting | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History