Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Major British Poets 1660-Present

ENGL 040.301
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3

"Poets and Readers, 1660-present"

The entity that holds this vast and shaggy survey of early modern to contemporary British poetry is the poetry reader herself. "No-one reads poetry any more" is a criticism often leveled at twenty-first century culture; this course will take up that statement by looking at how poets have historically delineated their reading audiences through their work. What kinds of readers, for example, does Pope think he is Writing for? How about Wordsworth? Hardy? Heaney? Levertov? Is it possible to historicize reading audiences and practices? Is it useful? We'll be asking these and related questions as we read our way through the work of British poets writing between 1660 and the present day. Assignments will include weekly response papers, a midterm and a final exam, and in-class presentation.