Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Closing Discussion

Ask yourself this: what seems to be the defining conceptual conflict of seventeenth-century literary culture?

Think hard and think creatively. A conflict of this sort can take many forms. It could be a conflict between body and soul, for example, or individuality and collectivity, or freedom and obedience, or tradition and innovation.

This question should form the substance of our final conversation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Week 15 and "Paradise Lost"

A quick note about the reading for the last week of class. On the syllabus, it specifies only that it's the second session on Milton's Paradise Lost. I've decided to do books 3-4 for that week. (The previous week, as indicated, please read books 1-2.) Thanks!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Research Paper: Guidelines, Expectations, Topics

Due: Friday, May 27 (By email:
Length: 3,000 words (approx.)

The major assignment of the course, the Research Paper should tackle a significant question and demonstrate: 

(1) that you have read relevant primary literary texts very closely.
(2) that you know how to advance a compelling argument and support it with evidence.
(3) that you know how to position that argument in relation to the ideas of other critics.
(4) that you know how to analyze literary texts in a way that is responsive to cultural and historical context. 
(5) your research paper is also expected to be free from basic problems of grammar and spelling.

You may choose to write on any topic that relates to our course material this semester. If you don't already have something in mind, below are some (very) broad areas of inquiry to help you start thinking. Also, don't forget the bibliography and links to primary-historical research tools that I posted in the first weeks of the semester. You may find that useful, as well.

The role of print (focusing on any author or two authors or any social or political context)

The relationship between praise and critique 

Effects of, and experiments with, genre

An author (or two authors) vis-a-vis a particular political event

Versions of political community

Versions of religious community

Doubt and belief

The nature of religious experience        

Women's writing (in terms of rhetoric, print, publicity/privacy, etc)

Poetry and female communit  

Poetry and the court (James's or Charles's)

Representing Cromwell 

Cavalier poetry

Milton in literary-historical context

Milton and Marvell

Donne and Herbert

Materiality, Ecology, Selfhood, Community (a cluster of ideas that can be dealt with in many ways) 

Community and the Country House poem (Jonson and Marvell) 


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

English Poetry, Jonson to Marvell

We have a lot on our plates tomorrow Marvell-wise, but tomorrow is also the last day of what has essentially been a  9-week overview of 17th-century poetry. So take a moment to reflect on where what we've read and discussed so far and try to develop some general ideas about this body of writing.

Are there any central conflicts, struggles, or preoccupations that seem to hold this diverse group of poems together as a coherent group?

What are the primary conversations taking place in seventeenth century poetry? 

If you were to tell a little two-minute story about 17th-century English poetry (if, say, someone were to put you on the spot and force you to), what would it sound like?

Interregnum, 1649-1660