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18th Century Poetry

ENGL 541.301
instructor(s):
W 12-3

English 541 is an advanced seminar on issues of subjectivity and authenticity in seventeenth and eighteenth century poetry. Rather than proceed with a survey, we will begin with 7 weeks of attention to the work and careers of Crashaw, Traherne, Finch, and Gray. Through close readings of the poetry and historical contexts, we will ask questions regarding poetic voice and addressee, situatinos of production and reception, the relations between the depiction of the senses and the creation of poetic form, the meanig of "metaphysical" and "descriptive" modes, the "minor genres" of seventeenth and eighteenth century poetry in the light of ongoing conventions of lyric, the projection of models of poetic knowledge and authority within the poetry. Each student will be required to do two projects addressing work beyond that of our initial four figures: one project will focus on a seventeenth century poet and the other on an eighteenth century poet. The first will be a bibliographic essay of 5-6 pages and close reading of an individual lyric; the second will be a research paper fo 20-25 pages applying and testing the concepts of the class. Students will do class presentations on their projects in teh latter part of the semester. Please feel free to contact me (898-3275 or stewart@english.upenn.edu) if you have any particular questions or concerns about the seminar.