Class meets: Tues-Thurs, 3:00-4:30 pm
Office and Phone: 203 Bennett Hall, (215) 898-7346
Office Hours: Tuesday 4:30-6:30, and Wed. by appt.
Katy Milligan's Office and Phone: TBA
Katy Milligan's Office Hours: TBA
Available at Penn Book Center, 3726 Walnut, ph:222-7600.
- --Clare, John. Selected Poetry and Prose. Ed. Raymond
Williams. (Methuen, ISBN#0416411207).
- --Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and
Other Poems (Dover, ISBN#0486272664).
- --Hardy, Thomas. Poems: Hardy (Everyman, ISBN#0679443681).
- --Hughes, Ted. Lupercal (1962; Faber and Faber, ISBN#0571092462).
- --Keats, John. Selected Poems (Everyman, ISBN#0460874594).
- --Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock (Dover, ISBN #0486219631).
- --Rossetti, Christina. Poems: Rossetti (Everyman ISBN#0679429085).
- --Wordsworth, William. Favorite Poems (Dover, ISBN#0486270734).
BULKPACK: At Wharton Reprographics:
Contains poems by Coleridge, Finch, Gray, Goldsmith, Keats, Montagu,
Pope, Robinson, Shelley, Smith, Swift, and Wordsworth.
Back in the early nineteenth century, the famous reviewer and critic
Francis Jeffrey wrote in The Edinburgh Review that there were "not thirty
[poets] whose works are to be found in the hands of ordinary readers--in
the shops of ordinary booksellers--or in the press for republication"
(Contributions to the Edinburgh Review 289). At that time,
Jeffrey joked about wanting to stop the production of the poets and the
presses, if only for a decade, so that he could direct his readers to the
vast amount of good British poetry, either neglected or forgotten, that
he did not want to see die. Therefore, in this course, we will do our
best to do the impossible: sample British poetry from 1710 to 1968 in
our own Grand Tour that hopefully will achieve an understanding even
about the authors that we will not have time to read. We will do so by
looking into a tradition of poetry--that of landscape--that will allow us
to construct a more cohesive trajectory of British poetry by seeing how
present poet revise and transform their predecessors in order to present
their own ways of seeing. Understanding the various topographies of
British poetry, furthermore, will allow us to examine how it constructs
psychological and political landscapes as well.
NOTE: The first 2 paragraphs must be handed in on the given
due date. The 3rd may be handed in at any time before Halloween. The
4th one may be handed in at any time during the month of November. All
must be given to me in class and on the day we are reading the
text you wish to discuss.
Sept 5: Opening Day of course. "Ozymandius"
and "England in 1819"
Sept 10: What Spaces Do Authors Construct for Themselves?: Read
Aloud all of the poems in the bulkpack by Anne Finch,
Countess of Winchelsea, and read the following two poems TWICE: Anne
Finch, "The Introduction," "The Apology." For Discussion (read
these very very closely): Anne Finch, "On Myself" and "The Bird in the
Arras". Question: Students often feel compelled simply to read Finch as
the bird in the arras. To what extent do the other three poems for today
Sept 12: How Does Creativity Work? Read Aloud: please read
through all of the poems of Anne Finch, Countess of
Winchelsea again, aloud and slowly. For Discussion: "A
Nocturnal Reverie," and "The Nightingale." Question #1: Do you
find these poems more interesting to read as transcriptions of actual
moments of inspiration, or as re-stagings (re-presentations) of such
moments? Question #2: We saw in "England in 1819" how Shelley
uses the list of details as a kind of argumentation; do the
first 2/3 of "Nocturnal Reverie" work this way? What is the function of
Sept 17: Topography and Caricature, or Locating Satire in Degree and
in the Detail. Read Aloud: Please read the extract from Homer in
the coursepack and Pope's translation of the same passage, and Thomas Gray, "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in
a Tub of Goldfishes." For Discussion: Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock.
PARAGRAPH DUE A-G.
Sept 19: Landscapes of Sexual Obsession. For Discussion:
Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard.
PARAGRAPH DUE H-P.
Sept 24: London High Life, 1700-1750: Two Views. Read
Aloud: read all of the poems in the bulkpack by Jonathan Swift and by Lady Mary Wortley
Montagu. For Discussion: "The Lady's Dressing Room" and,
from Montagu's Town Ecologues, "Saturday: The Smallpox."
PARAGRAPH DUE Q-Z.
Sept 26: Ruins, Monuments, and the Land of the Dead. Read
Aloud: Read all the poems in the bulkpack by Thomas
Gray. For Discussion: "Ode to Spring," "Ode on a Distant
Prospect of Eton College," and "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."
PARAGRAPH DUE A-G.
Oct 1: Landscapes of Economic Change I. Read Aloud: Reread
"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." For Discussion: Oliver Goldsmith, "The Deserted Village." PARAGRAPH
Oct 3: Hauntings and the Invention of Solitude. Read Aloud:
Please read the sonnets by Charlotte Smith in the
coursepack. For Discussion: Sonnets of your choice, and William
Wordsworth, "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey."
PARAGRAPH DUE Q-Z.
Oct 7: ESSAY #1 DUE AT NOON IN MY MAILBOX IN 119 BENNETT.
Oct 8: Hauntings II: How Did the 18th Century Imagine Psychology to
Work? Read: Stuart Curran, Mary Robinson's Lyrical
Tales in Context." Read Aloud: Read all the selections from
Mary Robinson in the bulkpack. For
Discussion: Joanna Baillie, "Night Scenes of
Other Times" (1790); Mary Robinson, "The Haunted
Oct 10: Hauntings III: More Solitude and More Guilt. For
Discussion: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner" and William Wordsworth, "Nutting." NOTE: You may want
to check out the version of the "Ancient Mariner" that Gustav Dore
illustrated. Just look on the library catalog using a keyword search
under "k=coleridge and dore".
Oct 15: FALL BREAK--NO CLASS.
Oct 17: The Conversation Poem 1: please read these aloud; they are
meant to be spoken, Reading: ARTICLE SUMMARY DUE on Michel
Foucault, "Panopticism" (in coursepack). Read also Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, "The Nightingale." For Discussion: Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, "This Lime Tree Bower My Prison," and "Frost at Midnight".
Oct 22: Landscape and History. ARTICLE SUMMARY DUE on Marlon
Ross, "Naturalizing Gender: Woman's Place in Wordsworth's Ideological
Landscape." Read Aloud: William Wordsworth, "Animal Tranquility and Decay: A Sketch" and "Old
Man Travelling." For Discussion: William Wordsworth, "Lucy
Grey," "Strange Fits of Passion," "A Slumber," "There Was a Boy," "Three
Years She Grew in Sun and Shower."
Oct 24: Creativity and Cognition. Read Aloud: Please finish
read through William Wordsworth, Favorite Poems. For
Percy Shelley, "Mont Blanc" (all in bulkpack).
Oct 25: ESSAY #2 DUE IN MY MAILBOX. THIS CAN BE ANOTHER
ATTEMPT AT THE SHORT ESSAY, OR A PROSPECTUS FOR THE LONGER ESSAY.
Oct 29: Landscapes of Creativity and Desire II. ARTICLE SUMMARY
DUE: Please read P. M. S. Dawson, "Poetry in an Age of Revolution."
Read Aloud: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Aeolian Harp," and John
Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn." For Discussion: Percy Shelley,
"Ode to the West Wind, and John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"
Oct 31: Landscapes of Creativity and Desire III. For
Discussion: John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes; John Keats,
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci; and "To Fanny" (in the
Nov 5: Read: Raymond Williams, "Introduction" to John Clare:
Selected Poetry and Prose. We will spend two class periods on
Clare. Per class, we will discuss two or three poems in depth. I
strongly recommend, however, that you simply read the Selected
Poems cover to cover, dipping in as you wish, and moving on if a
poem does not please you. Raymond Williams is perhaps the most important
materialist critic working in England in the last 40 years; his
introduction is excellent. The edition is littered with short prose
passages (in 'quotations marks' in the table of contents) written by
Clare that are very entertaining as well, and will give you a huge amount
of insight into this fascinating poet. For Discussion: "The
Mores," "The Lament of Swordy Well" and "Remembrances." ARTICLE
SUMMARY DUE ON THE WILLIAMS INTRODUCTION
Nov 7: For Discussion: Clare cluster #2: "The Thrushes Nest,"
"The Pettichaps Nest," "The Mouse's Nest," "The Badger," "The Fox." All
of these poems are superb, and to an extent speak to one another. If you
think that you want to write a paper on Clare's work, I strongly advise
that you read through all of the nest poems. They are short, and
fascinating. Long Paper Deadline #1: You must meet with me to
discuss what you will be doing your long essay on or by this date.
Nov 12: Read Aloud: Please read through Christina Rossetti,
Selected Poems and come to class prepared to tell me which poems
you want to read for Tuesday. For Discussion: Christina
Rossetti, Goblin Market.
Nov 14: For Discussion: Poems from Christina Rossetti,
Selected Poems, chosen by the class.
Nov 19: Read Aloud: Read through the first section of poems
in the Thomas Hardy, Poems. I will tell you on November 14 and
on the listserver which poems we will be discussing. These are
wonderful, wonderful poems, and so if you have any individual poems you
wish to discuss, then please suggest them!
Nov 21: Read Aloud: Read through the second section of poems
by Hardy. We will again do the same thing regarding selecting poems for
Nov 26: Read Aloud: ARTICLE SUMMARY DUE on Leonard
Scigaj, "Erecting a Here: The Hawk in the Rain and
Lupercal." Begin reading Ted Hughes, Lupercal (1962). I have
saved this book for last because, as poetry, it tends to blow people's
heads off--strong stuff tends to be needed for the end of the semester.
I will let you know, based on what the class's interests have been, what
poems we will do for discussion.
Nov 27: DRAFT OF LONG ESSAY MUST BE IN TODAY AT NOON. FEEL
FREE TO HAND IT IN EARLIER, BUT, BECAUSE I WANT TO GET THESE BACK TO YOU
ON 3 DECEMBER, I CAN'T ACCEPT ANY LATER THAN THIS DAY.
Nov 28: THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. Finish Lupercal--you'll find
it a nice antidote to writing papers.
Dec 3: Read Aloud: Finish reading Lupercal (1962).
Dec 5: Final Day of Class. Evaluations, Final Exam
information, Bad Cookies, and Worse Punch.
PORTFOLIO DUE DECEMBER 11TH AT 4:00 PM AT MY OFFICE.
- 1. To send a message to the class listserver: "mail" a
message to: email@example.com. When you send a message to
this address, the entire class will be able to read it and respond to it.
- 2. To reply to a message that has been sent to you via the class
listserver: make sure that you hit "g" (it stands for "group reply")
if you want to send your reply to the entire class. Hit "r" (for
"reply") if you only want to reply to the person who sent the message.
The best thing to do is double-check whom you are sending it to.
- 3. To get to my homepage using Lynx (where all the non-book
course materials also will be available on line):
- i) Log into your mail.sas account.
- ii) At the %MAIN MENU prompt, type "lynx."
- iii) Once in Lynx, type "g" (which stands for "go to") and then type
the address to my home page: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer. To
get right to the course materials, go to
- iv) Once you're in Lynx, use up and down arrow keys to move in the
document; use the left arrow to go back the way you came; use the right
arrow to select various choices in the document. Have fun!
- 4. To get to my hompage using Netscape: Simply select the
"Open" icon, and then type in my www address:
http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer. WITH NETSCAPE YOU WILL GET
You are required to have an electronic mail account:
I do not require you to use the world wide web, or any of the internet,
but an electronic mail account--and checking it at least a couple of
times a week--is required. Until you send an electronic mail
message to me, I WILL NOT CONSIDER YOU REGISTERED FOR THE CLASS,
and I will drop those of you on the course lists who do not get
electronic mail accounts. I do this because I will use electronic mail
as my chief way of making course announcements, sending out reminders,
and communicating with you.
Also, this course will have an electronic mailing list (known as
a listserver) that will have all of our names on it. If you send a
message to firstname.lastname@example.org, your message will go
to everyone in the class. This way, you will be able to do many things:
1) conduct discussions outside of class, 2) ask for information on what
we did in class if you miss a meeting, 3) test paper ideas out on each
other, 4) brainstorm regarding the final exam, etc. On the first day of
class, I will, as part of our first assignment, get those of you who know
about e-mail to take twenty minutes to teach those of you who don't know
about e-mail how to use it. KATY AND I ARE MORE THAN WILLING TO SET UP
GROUP APPOINTMENTS WITH YOU IN ORDER TO TEACH YOU HOW TO USE THIS
TECHNOLOGY--so if you feel lost, you simply need to say so.
PLEASE SHOW UP ON TIME OR EVEN EARLY. Regarding Absences: since
I know that disasters happen unexpectedly during the semester, I allow
you two absences. Therefore, please do not explain to me why you miss
class unless it involves a major illness that you can document. In
other words, there's no such thing in this class as an "excused"
absence. I don't want to know why you miss class; these two absences are
your business. Missing more than two classes is equally your business,
but it will significantly lower your grade, since it will inhibit your
ability to contribute significantly to our discussions. You should count
on 3-4 absences lowering your grade by 1/3 (B to B-, for example), 5-6 by
2/3 (B to C+), 7-8 by one full grade (B to C), etc. More than 10 will
constitute failing the course.
This class will conduct itself as a discussion rather than a lecture. I
say this now because I do not want anyone taking this class to expect it
to be a lecture class. I do sometimes lecture for 5-15 minute stretches,
but the bulk of our time will be spent in real discussion, and the topics
of our discussion will be determined as much by your intellectual
interests as by my own. This means that you should expect class periods
to be intense and often fun--a place to test out your own ideas about
what we're reading. You can expect me to come in every class with 50
minutes of my own agenda planned; in turn, I will expect the 25 of you to
have at least 25 minutes of questions, observations, and discoveries
about the reading. Students who do not participate in our discussions
will most likely see their final grade go down; the four or five students
who end up carrying much of the burden of discussion will probably see
their hard work reflected in their grade as well.
IF YOU ARE SHY, HERE'S WHAT TO DO: Simply bring in one
question that you want to ask the rest of us AND ASK IT--and you
should, when possible, choose interpretive questions ("I don't understand
how these two passages can be part of the same poem") rather than factual
questions ("When did Robinson write this?") In particular, I urge you to
pay special attention to those points where you don't understand
something in the reading--where you've tried to find out the answer
for yourself and failed--because they are the most important for the
Late Work and Extensions:
During the semester, I DO NOT ACCEPT LATE WORK. If you do not
make a deadline, it does not directly affect your grade; you simply lose
that opportunity for me to read your work and provide you with feedback.
For example, if you miss the second paper deadline, you simply lose that
opportunity for me to read your work and help you with feedback. I do
this because I do not want anything to do with the hassles of students
asking for extensions, bringing excuses, etc. I will only read each
paper you write once before the portfolio. However, I am happy to
discuss work in progress with you during my office hours or by
appointment; and will be very happy to talk with you about an essay that
I've commented upon. It is a good idea to bring in a draft with specific
questions about it. It is much more instructive to discuss specific
questions and writing problems in a draft than general, abstract
questions concerning your writing.
Reading and Writing Assignments:
As this course is a core course, I am assuming that you have little or no
experience in reading poetry. Consequently, the reading load for this
course is relatively light (usually around 4 hours per week), and the
writing load for this course is relatively heavy (several one-paragraph
article summaries, four short one-paragraph discussion "instigators,"
five listserv responses, two short essays, and a longer essay with an
annotated bibliography attached to it). Instructions concerning all of
these assignments are below. Work that is graded during the semester is
included under "Graded Work for This Course."
The Three Essays: During the semester, you'll hand in three
essays 750-1750 words long. At the end of the semester, you'll hand in
two of these essays revised in a portfolio that I will evaluate. So,
during the semester, I will read and respond to the essays you hand in to
me, and, by the second one, explain to you what kind of grade it would
receive were it to be handed in at the end of the semester in the
portfolio. In other words, the essays you hand in during the semester
give you the opportunity to test ideas and take chances without being
penalized for it.
GRADED WORK FOR THIS COURSE:
Your grade will be determined by three components: the quality of your
in-class performance (including the article summaries, the paragraphs,
and the listserver responses, 25% of your grade), your performance on the
final exam 25% of your grade), and the quality of the portfolio of work
that you hand in at the end of the semester (50% of grade). These
various assignments are listed and described below:
1) The Four "Instigator" Paragraphs (10% of grade). These
should be no more than 150 words, i.e. 1/2 a page single spaced. Four
times during the semester, I will ask you to write a paragraph that is
intended to instigate discussion. I will grade these based on their
ability to instigate discussion. The way these will work is that you
will bring your "instigator" into class on that day. On any given day,
we will likely have 7-8 students bringing in these paragraphs and reading
them aloud. These paragraphs should be straight to the point, without
introductory material, and in your speaking ("I") voice. You should see
these paragraphs as significant opportunities for you to determine the
agenda of the class. THEREFORE, YOUR PARAGRAPHS SHOULD BE ABOUT WHAT YOU
WANT TO FOCUS ON IN THE CLASS PERIOD, AND WHY. The paragraph should be
in your speaking voice and i) point us to a specific part of a specific
poem (at most two passages), ii) challenge us by asking a question or by
proposing an idea for discussion, iii) make clear what you want to
accomplish by discussing this--what will we be able to figure out if we
approach the text for discussion in your way? PLEASE DESIGN THESE TO BE
SPOKEN ALOUD. I will grade them less on the quality of the prose than on
the basis of how well they spur discussion--in other words, on their
intellectual intensity, clarity, and curiosity.
2) Five responses on the class listserver (10% of grade--at least
150 words in length): In the first eleven weeks of the semester, I
will ask you to participate in the discussion we have on the class
listserver (send all messages to email@example.com). You
may write in when you have something you want to contribute, propose,
respond to, etc., and may do so any time over the semester BEFORE
THANKSGIVING. You may participate as much as you wish--and those who
"carry" the discussion do get A's and A+'s for this part of the
course--but I require that you make at least five entries. PLEASE
DO NOT CRAM IN ALL OF YOUR ENTRIES INTO THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF NOVEMBER,
SINCE IT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF HAVING ON-LINE DISCUSSION GROUPS, AND
SINCE IT WILL LOWER YOUR GRADE ON THIS REQUIREMENT. At the end of the
semester, I will read through all of the listserv activity and evaluate
your level of engagement, and it will count as 10% of your final grade.
3) Five Article Summaries (5% of grade): I intentionally
have chosen some of the most important critics of the last 25 years when
I chose the articles we will read for the course. Consequently, in many
ways they are the most important aspect of the course, in that they will
familiarize you with reading literary criticism, and with the kinds of
issues that lately have dominated scholarly work on British Poetry. As a
way of insuring that you read these articles closely, I have assigned
throughout the semester a number of one-page summaries of the articles we
read for the class. I will simply read through these and check them off
so long as your summary convinces me that you have read the article.
Doing all of these on time is, again, an easy way to get a quick "A" in
the part of the course.
4) The Final Exam (25% of grade). This will be split between
an identification section, a short answer section, and an essay
question. It will be open book and open note. The best way to study for
this exam is to have read, by the end of the semester, each of the poems
for discussion several times, and to have marked in your books and
bulkpack every passage that comes up in class. These will be the ones
that appear on the final.
5) The Portfolio (50% of grade). This should represent the
your best work of the semester, and should really be the best, most
finished, immaculate work you can do. Each portfolio will contain the
- i) One Short Essay (less than 1000 words--do not go over
this). Even though these papers are short, they should be
well-thought-out, as rigorously argued as the longer essay, and as
lucidly written. Because of their short length, your prose will have to
be efficient and dense, and show the results of your attentive thinking
on the topic rather than being mere extemporaneous prose. If you so
choose, you may think of your response papers during the semester as
trial runs for the longer essay as well; however, you should not, for
both your short and long essay, hand in two versions of the same paper in
your portfolio. This means that you should not hand in two papers on the
same text, or that treat the same general topic, or that make the same
argument. The short essay is worth 10% of your grade.
- ii) One Longer Essay (1500-2500 words), that should address a
question of your own choosing, and will represent the most sustained
piece of work for the course. Ideally, it should treat at least two
texts in the course, and whatever outside materials you have dug up.
While you must hand in a prospectus of this paper during the semester, I
also recommend that you come to see me during my office hours before you
begin writing this essay. This essay is worth 20% of your grade.
- iii) The Annotated Bibliography will be an appendix to the long
paper, and must include at least two articles on the text[s] you have
written on for your Longer Essay. It consists of two summaries and two
exploratory essays, and therefore is worth 20% of your grade. SEE NEXT
PAGE FOR A COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF THIS ASSIGNMENT.
THE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
This assignment requires you to use the MLA bibliography, which is
available either in book form in the library, or on-line via the English
Web Page or on any of the Pennline terminals in the library. The best
way to reach it is to go to the library or via modem get to the library's
web page. Select "Pennlin," and then select "MLA." You'll be asked to
enter you social security number, etc. The directions are simple, but
read them. When searching, you should try lots of different
combinations--don't just look up an individual poem. If you have an
hour, the best way to do this is to look up an author and just slog
through all the entries. It will take less time than you think.
You have two options:
i) Report on two scholarly articles written any time after
1980. I do this because critical writing has changed drastically in
the last 15 years, and I want you to read current thinking on our poets.
Your choices may take the form of articles published in scholarly
journals, or ones published in books of essays (again, after 1980). Both
of these articles should relate to your essay in obvious ways. They do
not necessarily have to be on the same texts; if not, however, their
relevance should be very very clear to everyone concerned.
ii) Report on one scholarly article written after 1980 and one
source-text--i.e., written around the same time that your prospective
poet(s) wrote. For example, if you were writing an essay on Mary
Robinson, you might want to read her racy Memoirs of Mrs.
Robinson (1800) as one of your texts, and choose an essay by Judith
Pascoe. If you were writing on Percy Shelley, you might want to read
Edmund Burke's short A Philosophical Inquiry into Our Notions of the
Sublime and Beautiful (1758), or William Wordsworth's Preface to
Lyrical Ballads (1800, 1802), and then choose an appropriate
article to go with it. If you were writing about Ted Hughes, you might
want to read early reviews of his work in England and America, or perhaps
even the most famous book of poems (Ariel ) written by his
even more famous ex-wife, Sylvia Plath, since she wrote them during their
marriage and separation.
Each Annotated Bibliography Should Contain (Please note the minimum
1. For each article, a 150-word (or more) summary of the article's
argument. This is simply a tool for both of us--for you to make sure you
understand the article, and for me in case I haven't read it. The two
essays are the real guts of this assignment.
2. For each article, a 600-word (or more) essay on the article's
relation to your own essay and, more generally, its role in shaping or
challenging your thinking during the semester. It should include an
explanation and discussion of why you have chosen the article as one
worth writing on. This means that you should think as hard as you can
about not only what interested you about it, but also, more
importantly, how it has informed your work. Make sure that
you focus on specific aspects of the article's argument when they have
contributed to the growth of your own ideas.
3. Because this is a more exploratory kind of essay, I advise you to
speak in the first person ("I) when you write, and to think of this as a
kind of intellectual memoir of the growth of your own argument. You may
want to keep a kind of essay-diary while you are working on the long
essay, since this would provide excellent raw material for these essays.
4. NOTE: Those of you choosing option (ii) above should follow the
5. NOTE: In general (though not always), the truly outstanding (A-
or A) essays run 800-1000 words each.
The best way to go about this assignment step-by-step: 1)
Begin to formulate an argument for your long paper, 2) hop on Franklin
and on the MLA Bibliography and look under your text or author 3) select
3-4 articles that look like they will be pertinent to you essay as well
as interesting; 4) read through them; 5) select two of them, and read
them closely, examining the texts in question as you read the article; 6)
write up the summaries of each article; 7) write your long essay, 8)
write the essays about why you chose the articles in question, stressing
how these articles inform the argument you've made in your essay.
Examples of Annotated Bibliographies are available via my homepage.
Just select the link entitled "Course Materials," and look for it on the
list of handouts.