"Why did I write? What sin to me unknown Dipt me in Ink, my parents' or my own?"
This course will range broadly in British poetry from Marvell to the Moderns, with a host of other "movements" in between: neoclassical, Romantic, Victorian. We will ground our readings throughout this duzzying historical sweep by focusing on the fugure of the poet him- or herself as presented within these works. Why write poetry at all, to what purpose, and for whom? We will consider this question within historical and literary contexts, paying close attention to the relationships between form and content, writer and reader, poem and poem. A representative sample of the poets we will read: Marvell, Dryden, Pope, Finch, Smith, Rossetti, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning, Yeats, Eliot. Class meetings will emphasize participation in discussions, close attention to the texts, and regular in-class presentations. There will be weekly writing assignments and three short papers.