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Poetry, Nation, Empire: English Poetry in the Late 17th & 18th Centuries

ENGL 741.301
instructor(s):
M 9-12

Poets in later 17th and 18th century England contributed to public conversation and debate: they wrote poems on "affairs of state," on the state of the nation, on the state of trade and commerce, or on the necessity (and pitfalls) of empire. They also wrote on a variety of "occasional" topics (birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, events of significance), on the state of gender relations, including the social relations that governed the practices of male and female authors, and on the nature and forms of poetic inspiration. We will read these poems to recover a sense of the place of poetry in the "public sphere," and to ask ourselves what kinds of critical methods and theoretical vocabularies best enable such literary-critical recovery?