We’ll read selections from several poets, the non-canonical as well as the traditional, from the reign of James I to slightly after the Restoration (1603-1667). Although we'll spend a bit more time on John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton, we will also study poets such as Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Edmund Waller, Richard Lovelace, Aemilia Lanyer, and Katherine Philips. We'll devote the last month of the course to Paradise Lost. We'll investigate trends in seventeenth-century English history: the reigns of James I, Charles I, Charles II, and James II; Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution; religion and society.
Sir Herbert Grierson, ed. Metaphysical Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century (1921)
Dr. Johnson, Life of Cowley (1784)
T. S. Eliot, Review of Grierson ["The Metaphysical Poets"] in TLS 1921
I prefer to form a seating circle of trust. Since our classroom is built to hold us in normal times, and it does not easily allow for the 6-ft. social distancing, we might have to have a seating chart to ensure your safety. I apologize for this.
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Course policies about attendance and late papers will be standard, as described below. In the event that you are exposed to The Virus and are supposed to be quarantined, we'll make modifications, though it's expected that you will keep up with your work and turn things in on time.
Exceptions to course policies must be supported by official communications from the Dean of Students.
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Introductions, Stuarts, neoclassicism, baroque, mannerism, Puritans, Anglicans;
Ben Jonson, "On Something That Walks Somewhere"; "On My First Daughter"; "On My First Son"; "Inviting a Friend to Supper"; "Why I Write Not of Love"; "To Penshurst"; "Shakespeare"
John Donne, "The Sun Rising"; “The Flea”; “The Apparition”; “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”; “The Ecstasy”; “Elegy: On His Mistress Going to Bed”; [“At the round earth’s imagined corners”]; [“Death be not proud”]; [“Batter my heart”]; “Good Friday, 1613: Riding Westward”
George Herbert, “The Altar”; “Redemption”; “Easter [I]”; “Easter-wings [I]”; “Affliction [I]”; “Jordan [I]”; “Jordan [II]”; “The Collar”; “Love [III]”
Robert Herrick, “The Argument of His Book”; “Dreams”; “Delight in Disorder”; “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”; “His Prayer to Ben Jonson”; “The Bad Season Makes the Poet Sad”; “Upon Julia’s Clothes”; Thomas Carew, "Song: Persuasions to Enjoy"; Richard Lovelace, "Love Made in the First Age: To Chloris"; Edmund Waller, “The Story of Phoebus and Daphne Applied”; “Song [Go, lovely rose]”; Sir John Denham, Cooper's Hill ; Katherine Philips, “To Mrs. M. A. at Parting”
ANALYTICAL ESSAY DUE FRIDAY, 15 October , 11:59 p.m. via Brightspace
NO CLASS TUESDAY 19 OCTOBER
Andrew Marvell, “An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”; “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn”; “To His Coy Mistress”; “The Definition of Love”; Aemelia Lanyer, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
FIRST EXAM DUE FRIDAY 29 October, 11: 59 pm. via Brightspace
Milton, Lycidas, sonnets, Paradise Lost
2 November: sonnets
"How soon hath Time"; "When I consider"; "Methought I saw"
4 and 9 November: Lycidas
11 November-9 December: Paradise Lost
The poem is hard going for the novice. It helps to listen as your eyes run over the words.
You can hear it at this LibriVox link, read by Thomas A. Copeland.
11 November: Book I (Abigail); Book II.1-628 (Madi K.) Book II.629-1050 (Maddy L.)
18 November: Book III (Jacob); Book IV (Erin)
30 November: Book V (Liam); Book VI (Novella); Book VII (Josiah)
2 December: Book VIII (Savannah and Emmalee)
7 December: Book IX (Doc)
9 December: Book X (Beth); Books XI and XII (Doc)
SECOND EXAM DUE WEDNESDAY 15 DECEMBER 11.59 p.m. via Brightspace
NO CLASS TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER
You are allowed five (5) absences for any reason you choose. Students who miss more than this will fail the course, without exception, regardless of circumstances. I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, nor am I responsible for material that you miss because you are absent. Students who miss the attendance call (the first five minutes of class) will be marked absent; students who get up and leave in the middle of class will be marked absent. Please take care of your rest room issues BEFORE class. If you must leave, give us the high sign.
NOTE: if you signed up for the class, it is understood that you can attend it regardless of family or employment obligations. If you have emergencies, this is why you have absences allowed.
Your paper and take-home exams are due on the scheduled non-class dates by 11:59 p.m. via Brightspace. Late papers = 0. No exceptions. These will be short, 4-6 pp. for undergrads, 10-15 pp. for grads. Your paper and first exam may be revised after meeting with the instructor in the office or Zoom and discussing your plans.
it should go without saying that students are also expected to do their own work; indebtedness to secondary materials (either printed or electronic) must be clearly indicated so as to avoid plagiarism:
—(piecemeal) using someone else’s words and phrases as if they were your own, not pararphrasing or summarizing properly, even with proper documentation;
—(grotesque) using someone else’s ideas as if they were your own, without proper documentation;
—(more grotesque) allowing someone else to write your paper for you.
The course grade will be determined by a rough averaging together of your essay on an assigned topic, take-home midterm, and take-home final exam. I reserve the right to take into additional factors into account; improvement, class participation, and, of course, attendance. Grades are not negotiable, personal, or subject to the influence of extracurricular academic factors.
We grade on the usual 100 pt. scale: 90s = A, 50s = F
You may email me at any time. I will usually get back to you quickly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Henry King’s “The Exequy,” which you can access by this link, since the poem is not in your anthology. Write an analysis and explication of it. Your paper should have a point, an arguable thesis that you keep in sight throughout for the reader’s edification. Avoid summary (simply paraphrasing the poem into your own words) for its own sake. Concentrate on analysis (why the poet does what he does, not just what it is). Original thinking is key, and gets the nod.
Bonus: The English Poems of Henry King, ed. Lawrence Mason (1914)
If you are an undergraduate, please do not feel obliged to do library work on the poem, or to surf the internet for bad ideas. Graduate students should make some attempt to investigate recent criticism on the poem.
And remember: it is plagiarism to use materials that are not your own; online “sources” such as Wikipedia are illegitimate; the rationale for using secondary materials is to show your academic audience that you have researched your topic thoroughly and that you are making an original contribution to scholarship on the site.
Here are some things to think about as you begin, but please do not program your paper as a set of answers to these questions:
who is the speaker and what does he want?
what seems to concern him?
some of the language and metaphor seems odd, but was characteristic of its time. Why did King think it was appropriate to the subject matter?
which passages of the poem seem particularly significant and worthy of analysis? Is there a section of “The Exequy” that really demands significant and detailed treatment? (This is key.)
Send me your paper in a Word document from on Brightspace. You can always turn your paper in early. Most of my students do. Late papers will result in an F grade (see syllabus). Last-minute computer problems are no excuse.
4-5 pp. for undergraduates, 10-15 pp. for graduate students
reputable sources if you care to use them
due Friday, 15 October 11:59 p.m via Brightspace
no late papers
*The grade on your analytical paper is approximate. This means that you may revise once for a better grade. However, you really have to revise the essay, and you must schedule an office conference before you undertake your revision. And that grade is final. The due date for the revision is any time before the second exam is due, 15 December
Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Marvell, Carew, Waller: what common field marks do they share to identify them as poets of their time? Or, what one specific thing do they all have in common?
Besides maleness, that is.
One creative idea with two options: Katherine Philips. Which of her poems seem to engage with our other writers? Specifically? Or, how would each react, specifically, to one of the Philips pieces we read?
This is a take-home examination. Detail and specificity, as well as adventurous thinking, are definitely prized here. Since this is an exam rather than a formal paper, strict adherence to the conventions and formatting of formal writing are not necessarily required. At the same time, please consult the Writing Papers webpage.
4-5 pp. for undergraduates, 10-15 pp. for grads
reputable sources if you care to use them
due Friday, 29 October , 11:59 p.m. via Brightspace
no late papers
*The grade on your exam is approximate. This means that you may revise once for a better grade. However, you really have to revise the exam, and you must schedule an office conference before you undertake your revision. And that grade is final. The due date for the revision is any time before the second exam is due, Wednesday, 15 December, 11:59 p.m. via Brightspace
Your final mission is simple. What is Miltonic? What is characteristic of the author we have been reading and studying for the last month? By which signs and tendencies would you know him? Use short but appropriate quotations from Paradise Lost and other works to make your point.
Because it is not my practice to write comments on final papers and exams, yours will not be returned, unless you really, really, really want it back, with lots of comments. You must request this, however.
4-5 pp. undergrads, 10-15 pp. grads
no need for secondary materials
due Wednesday, 15 December, by 11:59 p.m. via Brightspace
no late papers
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good for nothing else, be wise. --Rochester