Byron last Friday, Shelley (Percy) tomorrow. Keats on Wednesday. Shelley again (Mary, this time) on Friday. Yikes. This is whistle-stop English literature with a vengeance.
I'm already starting to second-guess this part of the course; maybe it would have been better to use thematic clusters, the way I do when I teach seventeenth-century poetry. You know, poems about Death one day, and then ones about Oliver Cromwell, or whatever. (Not that the Romantics are writing huge numbers of poems about Cromwell; obviously, the specific themes would have to be different. Landscape. Childhood. The Common Man. That sort of thing.)
I guess how one organizes a syllabus says a lot about what one thinks the students really need to learn in the survey: do I want them to remember the authors' names and associate particular works or ideas with those names? Or do I care more about presenting a certain set of themes and concerns as typical of the period? Or do I want to problematize the whole idea of periodization and show them all the stuff that doesn't fit our stereotypes of the Romantics or Victorians? Or maybe I shouldn't be worrying about factual knowledge at all; isn't this essentially a skills course? (And so, Shelley Day becomes How To Read A Sonnet Day before I know it.) Honestly, I think my answer to those questions is "all of the above," and there just isn't time.
Anyway, it's too late to second-guess the syllabus, so I guess I'll have them do some in-class writing, put on some music, and somehow muddle through.