ENGL-186-01 Sem: Wordsworth and After
Fall for 2009-2010
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The first half of this course will focus on William Wordsworth’s radical experiments and innovations in poetic form and content, set within the context of the radical politics of the 1790s (especially with reference to the French Revolution). In this light we will explore the ways in which poetic forms and theories of language are connected to questions of class, gender, and power more generally. We will examine Wordsworth relation to the poetic traditions that preceded him, especially in light of Keats’s claim that “Wordsworth is deeper than Milton . . . [who] did not think into the human heart as Wordsworth has.” The second half of the course will explore the kinds of poetic experiments (in diction, syntax, genre, and content) that occurred in the wake of Wordsworth’s poetic revolution by focusing on British and American poets such as John Keats, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Carlos Williams, and Adrienne Rich. Our exploration of these poets will be set within the personal, aesthetic, and political contexts within which they wrote. In addition to a rigorous reading of the poetry, some attention will be given to such poetic manifestoes as Wordsworth’s “Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballads, 1800” and Whitman’s “Preface to the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass.” Several brief writing assignments, a longer final essay, and daily class participation will be required.
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Fall '09: Ragussis, M. (file download)
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