British Poetry, 1660-1914
This course will examine British poetry from the Restoration to the early twentieth century, placing it within its social, cultural and political contexts. These centuries in European history were marked by great turbulence, and we will study the works of various poets as reflections of the periods’ revolutions and wars, broadly defined. Beginning with the aftermaths of the English revolutions (Puritan and Glorious), we will view poets’ reactions to subsequent revolutions—American, French, and Industrial, among others. We will also look at various “revolutions” in thought, such as the Enlightenment, the Romantic Movement, and radical ideas about abolition, and the rights of women and the poor. Finally, we will trace the impact of wars on the lives and beliefs of British poets, culminating in the shattering visions that emerged from World War I. Among the many poets we will study are: Milton, Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Pope, Swift, Blake, Barbauld, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, both Rossettis, both Brownings, Tennyson, Arnold, Hopkins, Hardy, Yeats, Eliot, and Owen.