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This essay was originally published on The North American Society for the Study of Romanticism’s blog.  The full essay can be read on their home page by accessing the link at the end.


There’s a scene in an episode of the animated series Samurai Jack where the Scotsman encounters an old man in the port who wishes him to tell him a tale. When the Scotsman asks what it is there’s a long pause before the old man cackles out, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner!”

The Scotsman then bellows, “Heard it!” and shoves him out of the way.

As a kid you recognize the dismissal as the base of the comedy and don’t dig too far into it. It’s only when you watch the show ten years later, because of course the cartoons you watched when you were a He cannot choose but hearkid were better than the cartoons that exist today everybody knows that, you pause on that joke and, hopefully, still laugh. You get the context of the joke because your sophomore level English instructor had you read the poem and you get that it’s a play on the set up and…I’m ruining the joke aren’t I? Sorry about that.

I was going originally to write about John Keats’s To Autumn or Ode to a Nightingale, but I’ve decided to leave that for December for rhetorical reasons (assuming NASSR doesn’t fire me or Grad school doesn’t kill me, check back in in a month I promise it will be worth it). Since I saw I only had two weeks until my next post was due I thought it would be interesting to discuss popular culture and it’s response to the Romantics. Now the possibility for such an essay might at first be an in depth analysis to the cultural habit or re-imagining previous texts in order to build upon the shoulders of giants, not to mention establish an interest for young viewers so that there’s hope to become young readers. That’s the possibility, but not necessarily what I’m going to do here. I thought it’d be fun to just look through several examples of where we can find allusions to Romantic poetry.

Now because there’s so many great examples of references to the Romantic Period in Popular culture I don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s start with Family Guy.