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Classical and Continental Origins of the English Love Lyric

ENGL 029.601
Tuesdays 4:30-7:30 pm

Ever wonder where the language and imagery we use to describe love (that most indescribable set of experiences) comes from? This seminar will map out the "big hits" of the erotic lyric tradition, focusing on Classical, medieval, and early-modern poetry. We will survey such diverse works as Sappho’s introspective fragments, Ovid's racy Amores, Chaucer's Anglo-French courtly lyrics, and Shakespeare's masochistic Sonnets, with many stops along the way. We will seek to uncover the ways erotic and literary desires overlap with one another in this body of poetry, all the while working intensively on developing our own reading and writing skills. The course will emphasize analytical skills and will stress the development of an argumentative, thesis-driven essay style. Course requirements include listserv posts, a midterm, a final paper, and lively, active class participation.