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Romanticism/Realism/Modernism Research Project : The Assignment

Project Details

Modern European History                                       My subject is:_______________________


Romanticism/Realism/Modernism Research Project 




Romantics: Walter Scott, Mary Shelley

Realists: Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Clorinda Matto de Turner


Percy Bysshe Shelley
Lord Byron
William Wordsworth
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Visual artists

Romantics: Francisco Goya, Caspar David Friederich,  J.M.W. Turner, Eugene Delacroix

Realist: Gustave Coubert

Modernists: Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Wassili Kandinsky


Ludwig van Beethoven
Hector Berlioz
Franz Shubert
Richard Wagner


Louis Pasteur
Dimitri Mendeleev
Charles Darwin
Marie Curie
Max Planck
Albert Einstein


Houston Stewart Chamberlain
Theodore Herzl


Your assignment is to prepare and present a profile of a 19th century European figure of art, science, or politics. There will be both a presentation and a written essay for this project. To do a good job, you must do more than simply report on artwork, novels, or a scientific experiment.  You need to analyze how your subject exemplifies the ideals of the Romantics, the Realists, or the Modernists.  You will also need to address the historical influences on their work, and show this influence by discussing the contect of 2-3 representative works.

You will accomplish this by presenting, and writing up:

1)    A brief biography of the person you are profiling – where they were from, an overview of their life, and for what kind of works they are most known.

2)    A description of at least TWO cultural works (pieces of music, poems, novels, etc.) and an explanation of how they represent the features of Romanticism – you will need to quote directly/play a short extract from  whatever works you are profiling to support your analysis of the artist.

 3)    An analysis of how these works reflect the influence of outside historical influences on the subject of your study. A successful analysis will refer to specific historical events, ideas, or people, and show how they influenced the art.



  • Should be typed and double-spaced in size 12, Times New Roman font
  • Should center on a thesis statement addressing the central issue of how your figure embodies Romanticism, having been influenced by history
  • Should be at least 800 words in three different paragraphs (include a Word Count)
  • A formal introduction and conclusion are NOT necessary


  • Must show understanding of the central qualities of the Romantic movement
  • Must address specific historical people/ideas/events that influenced your subject
  • Must use evidence from independent research
  • At least two approved sources (i.e. books or MBA databases)                  
  • Two primary sources from copyrighted material (book excerpts, poems, works of art, music, etc.)
  •  A limit of one encyclopedic source
  •  Must include properly formatted parenthetical references in the MLA style
  •  Must include a properly formatted Works Cited section


Vincent! Courtesy of Mrs. K, who visited MOMA in NYC

About the Presentation


FEBRUARY ______ .

Format of presentation:

You may choose to present in one of the following ways:

  • VIDEO—You may use a video for your presentation –you can simply film yourselves doing the presentation as if it were you standing in front of class, or follow your imagination in keeping with the style of the Romantics.
    • Please upload the videos to YouTube by the day of class or bring them in on a memory stick/CD/DVD to play in class. There is no need to provide a handout for video presentations, although you are welcome to do so if you wish. 
  • POWERPOINT—This format is especially effective for visual artists. The content of your PowerPoint should be mostly images, and use your own text sparingly. DO NOT cut and paste your essay into a PowerPoint.
  • HANDOUT—This format is especially effective for authors (including poets). Your handouts should be more thoughtful than just a rough photocopy of a page from a book. Make sure it looks nice, and only contains as much information you can address in 5-7 minutes.
  • MP3s/CDs (and other audio formats)—If you choose to research a composer, you must play portions of the composers work that support your thesis and main points. Please do not plan simply to ‘YouTube’ a piece of music. Prepare a CD or MP3 (or other format) audio file. You may play music from your computer or iPod through the classroom speakers. A one-page handout with information on the pieces would be helpful. 

In every format—You must cite any sources you use (not including the textbook) at the end of the video, OR, if you are doing an in-class presentation, in the PowerPoint or on the handout that you submit with it.

Essay and Presentation Schedule


  • Essay

·      Thursday, January 28: Choose Romantic figure

·      Friday, January 29 and Tuesday, February 3: Days of research

·      Wednesday, February 4: Rough draft (PRINTED for homework grade)

MONDAY, February 9: ESSAY DUE, printed and stapled, at the very beginning of class

  • Presentations

·      Thursday and Friday, February 5-6

·      The order will be chosen by lottery.


The Research Guide

The Research Guide

For this project, you need to use at least two secondary sources other than the textbook and handouts, and at least one of your sources must NOT be an encyclopedia of any kind. You will also need to use at least two primary sources. See the Research Guide below for further instructions. You will also need to use (and cite) copyrighted material for finding your primary sources (book excerpts, poems, works of art, music, etc.).

1.     Do preliminary research.  ABSOLUTELY NO GOOGLE/INTERNET SEARCHING MAY BE CITED in your work. Duiker/Spielvogel should be helpful for background information. Wikipedia is a convenient, if problematic, source for preliminary information.

2.     Go to MBA library’s databases. Ms. Klausner has also created a LibGuide, which helps guide you to the most useful resources. You have the ability to access library databases from your home.  Other than books, which are still preferred, these are the only acceptable sources from which to get your information.

  • Go to the MBA Library main web page
  • In the middle of the page, you will see the green heading “Databases.”
  • For any database listed, clicking the link will either let you in, or prompt you to enter your MBA username and password—this is all the information you need to access these databases from home.