Spring 2013 Undergraduate English Courses

350:333 Seventeenth Century Poetry







 This course will explore the diverse and remarkably vital poetry of the 17th century (from the turn of the century to the Restoration) in its literary and cultural contexts.  Works of canonical writers like Donne, Jonson, Marvell, Milton, and Herbert will be studied alongside the works of increasingly visible women writers (e.g., Lanyer, Wroth, Philips) as we examine the range of poetic discourses--erotic, religious, political--in this period, emphasizing considerations and intersections of identity (national and individual), power, gender, language and style.  We’ll begin the semester with Donne, who wrote of a world “all in pieces, all coherence gone,” and proceed to discover the various (extravagant, anxious, etc.) voices and forms that poets constructed during a period characterized by massive cultural shifts from which emerged what we now refer to as the “modern.” (Time permitting, we’ll conclude the semester by reading a contemporary one-act play, Wit (winner of 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) that uses the metaphysical ‘wit’ of seventeenth-century poetry as a frame and context for its explorations of life and death, intellect and passion, at the close of the 20th century.)

Attendance:  Regular attendance required

Means of evaluation:  papers and exams (in-class open-book and/or take-home)