This course combines literary-historical with creative work; its topic is what it means to write with urgency in an age of great political divides. Historically, we'll be residing mostly in the 1790s, the decade that not only saw revolution in France but also in Haiti. Though our primary foci will be two writers (Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth) and a single text (Lyrical Ballads), we'll read widely in this decade's poetry and non-fiction prose, as well as reading current scholarship that partakes of this decade's energy. Creatively, we'll do two kinds of assignments, one more imitative and the other more appropriative. Both will focus on what it means to take a popular form, whether from then or now, and direct it to altogether different purposes.
Assignments will build to two significant projects, one creative and the other critical. No final or midterm.