Readings in major British poets from John Dryden to W.B. Yeats. This course will seek to trace the history of verse in Britain and to understand the changing nature of poetic expression and purpose over the centuries. We will be especially attentive to the shift from neo-classical ideas to Romanticism at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the effect on poetry of the great social and intellectual changes in nineteenth and early twentieth-century British life. Intense close readings of particular poems with attention paid to metre and poetic form as well as to theme will be our way of proceeding. Two short papers (3-5 pages) will be assigned in the course of the semester, along with a final and somewhat longer paper (8-10 pages).