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British Poetry 1660-1914

ENGL 040.001
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30

British poetry has long been concerned with what John Clare called the “broad landscape varying every hour.” In this course we will survey the tradition of landscape poetry, paying particular attention to the ways it constructs psychological, as well as political, landscapes. We will chart its topography as it moves from satire and the sublime, through revolution and revelation, to desire and desolation. Immersing ourselves in the pleasures of reading poems closely and speaking poems boldly, we will trace poets’ shifting views of London’s urban geography. Britain’s picturesque countryside, and the immense, rolling ocean that surrounds it. At the same time, we will explore the central forms of this tradition-mock epic, pastoral, ode, elegy, sonnet, ballad, and lyric-and mark how authors reuse and revise them across two centuries of British verse. Readings will include works by Jonathan Swift, Anne Finch, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, Charlotte Smith, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, John Keats, and John Clare, the Rossetti’s, the Brownings, Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Coursework will include informal responses, creative exercises, two short papers, a presentation, and a final exam.