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British Poetry Between Milton and Wordsworth
ENGL 375
Spring 2013 not offered

We all have heard about Milton's Renaissance epic, PARADISE LOST (1667), and Wordsworth's ROMANTIC LYRICAL BALLADS (1798), but we do not often hear much about the poetry written during the century in between. Popular literary consciousness often ignores 18th-century poems, in part because these texts do not always behave as we think poetry should. (This led one 19th-century writer famously to say that even the greatest 18th-century poems are better thought of as "classics of our prose" than "of our poetry"). Certainly, this poetry does not conform to later critical standards; it's stranger--at once more seriously engaged with received literary forms and more playfully open to generic experimentation. Where is the line between poetry and prose, anyway? In this class, we will explore the weird and sometimes wild world of poetry written between the Renaissance and the Romantics. There are long, learned philosophical poems about the meaning of life and satirical squibs about prostitutes and prime ministers. Mock-epics and mock-pastorals are written alongside quite straight-faced poems about farming and sofas, and poets could capture the cadences of everyday gossipy conversation, the sublimity of the Newtonian cosmos, or the hard realities of working-class life. Our class will attend to the nuances of language and the workings of form as we glimpse an understanding--quite different from our own--of what poetry can do and be.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on APR-19-2024
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