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British Poetry 1660-1914

ENGL 040.002
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

George Orwell once claimed that merely shouting out the word "Poetry!" could scatter a crowd faster than a fire hose. This survey of nineteenth and twentieth-century British poetry aims to counter Orwell's statement by emphasizing the delights of poetic expression. The purpose of the course will be to acquaint ourselves with the major poets of the period and to learn how literary analysis increases the pleasures of reading (and speaking) poetry. We'll spend a little time on Alexander Pope and his eighteenth-century contemporaries, then move to the Romantic poets and their successors, the Victorians and the Moderns. We'll pay some attention to the major intellectual and aesthetic questions facing these poets in their times, but for the most part we'll focus on the task of making sense of poetry by considering how elements of sound, rhythm, and metaphor in language combine to make art. We'll concentrate on the following poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Hopkins, Arnold, Rosetti, Wilde, Yeats, Eliot, Auden, Larkin, and Hughes. Frequent brief analytical exercises, a longer essay (which can be revised), a creative assignment, and mid-term and final exams.