|1||Fall 2017|| O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
||TTh 5-6:30 PM||109 Dwinelle|| Middle English
Renaissance and Early Modern
British 20th- and 21st-Century
African American Literature
This course will examine the historical trajectory of a very fuzzy category, “lyric,” from its identified origins and early practice in English (anonymous medieval lyrics) to its 20th- and 21st- century rejections and rehabilitations (all the way up to last year’s Citizen by Claudia Rankine, whose subtitle is “An American Lyric”). Rather than define the term decisively, we will attempt to amass data about what kinds of modes, contents, and formal features have been associated with lyric over time and how poets have responded to that growing archive when contributing new instances of such verse. Along the way, we will also consider several theorizations and histories of lyric practice, including the idea that the very category has become a useless or even misrepresentative synonym for “poetry” that collapses multiple verse genres.
All poems and essays will be drawn from a course reader available at Metro Publishing on Bancroft by the 2nd class meeting.