Lepers, Revolutionaries, and Drunkards: The Alienated Poet and His
Much of the canonical poetry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
has adopted the voice of "the outsider," proclaiming an
essential difference or distance from society in order to criticize it.
This class will attempt to chart the development of this foreign or
revolutionary voice as a source of poetic authority. We will also examine
various poetic critiques of this alienated, often romanticized, voice.
Finally, we will attempt to relate this figure to the landscape we see
through its (usually his) eyes. Landscape in poetry from these periods,
and our own, functions as a metaphor of both nation and body; the city
or country seen through an alienated poetic vision often reveals cultural
conflicts around the issues of both sexual and political identity. The
poets we will study include Andrew Marvell, Anne Finch, Jonathan Swift,
Coleridge, Wordsworth, Whitman, Dickinson, Bronte, Yeats, Rimbaud, and
Rainer Maria Rilke. Poets writing in a language other than English will be
read in translation.
Requirements for this course include several short paragraphs for
instigating class discussion; three short analytical papers; one longer
research paper; and active participation both in class and on the class
Note: English 202 is required of most majors. Students may alternatively
take TWO courses in British poetry covering two periods covered by 202.