01 MW4 CAC 15210 ZITIN MU-204
Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Poetry: Landscape, Labor, and Loss
This course tracks the transformation of three classical poetic genres—elegy, georgic, and pastoral—in Britain's long eighteenth century, which is to say, from Milton to the early romantic poets. Roughly defined, elegy refers to mourning poems, georgic to poems about the cycles of agricultural labor, and pastoral to fantasies of rural simplicity. The eighteenth century proved a rich period for the interrelated development of these genres, time-tested poetic modes made newly relevant by the advances and encroachments of modernity: industrialization, urbanization, globalization. We will pay close attention to the language, structure, and argument of the poems we read as well as to their contexts, examining what claims were made on and in verse during this period of profound social and economic change. Readings in formalist, Marxist, and feminist criticism will supplement our encounters with the poems themselves. Writing assignments will range from short and informal (guided textual analysis) to longer and more formal (essays), including a take-home final exam.